Apoptotic cell death plays a critical role in immune system homeostasis, and c-myc protooncogene deregulated expression is a component of this programmed genomic response. Pharmacological intervention and modulation of peripheral lymphocytes apoptosis would have important implications. The present results indicate that ouabain, a specific inhibitor of Na+ K+-ATPase, promotes an increased expression of c-myc mRNA, and induces apoptosis in PHA-stimulated lymphocytes. Furthermore, this ouabain-induced apoptosis cannot be counteracted by the addition of exogenous IL-2.

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