The immunologic effects of misoprostol, an oral prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) analog, were tested in 25 individuals over age 65, compared to 25 individuals given placedo. Elderly subjects were chosen because previous in vitro studies had found an increased sensitivity to PGE of lymphocytes in older subjects. After two weeks of ingestion of misoprostol or placedo, there was a small but statistically significant decrease in IgM-rheumatois factor in the misoprostol group when compared to control and a significant decrease in the vitro sensitivity of lymphocytes from the misoprostol group to inhibition by PGE. There were no differences in total lymphocyte count, T cell or T cell subset count, delayed hypersensitivity skin test reactivity, serum immunoglobulins, or response to mitogens between the two groups. Therefore, the short term administration of an oral PGE analogue to normal elderly individuals is not associated with any detrimental effects on immunologic function after two weeks.
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