Research Article

Methimazole and generation of oxygen radicals by monocytes: potential role in immunosuppression.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 288 doi: (Published 18 February 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;288:518
  1. A P Weetman,
  2. M E Holt,
  3. A K Campbell,
  4. R Hall,
  5. A M McGregor


    A study was conducted investigating the possibility that the immunosuppressive action of methimazole (the active metabolite of the antithyroid drug carbimazole) might be due to an effect on the production of oxygen radicals by monocytes. Techniques comprised measurement of luminol dependent chemoluminescence in monocytes and a spectrophotometric assay for production of hydrogen peroxide. The results showed definite inhibition of formation of oxygen radicals by resting and stimulated monocytes, which may explain the immunosuppressive action of the drug in Graves' disease. The findings also suggest that the formation of oxygen radicals and the initiation of the immune response may be closely related.