Phencyclidine-induced immunodepression

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Science  06 Jul 1984:
Vol. 225, Issue 4657, pp. 76-78
DOI: 10.1126/science.6328664


Phencyclidine ("PCP" or "angel dust") and some of its derivatives are psychotomimetic drugs that have been used in general anesthesia for some time. This drug blocks potassium ion channels in brain tissue, and there is a specific PCP binding to lymphocytes. In a study of the effects of this drug on immunocyte function, it was found that humoral and cellular immune responses in vitro were depressed when immunocytes were treated with PCP before biological assay. This finding has implications for PCP abuse and also for the use of its derivative in general anesthesia, where it may contribute to postoperative infection.