The bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloid, tetrandrine, was shown to affect some important human monocyte functions. The drug caused significant inhibition of random movement, chemotaxis, superoxide anion generation and interleukin 1 (IL-1) production. By contrast, degranulation and hexose-monophosphate shunt activity were unaffected. Tetrandrine may be of value in the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases where IL-1 has a major role as an inflammatory mediator
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