Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Lymphocyte Activation is Attenuated by Stellate Ganglion Block
  1. Masahiro Sugimoto, M.D.*,,
  2. Motomu Shimaoka, M.D.*,,
  3. Nobuyuki Taenaka, M.D.*,
  4. Hiroshi Kiyono, D.D.S., Ph.D.* and
  5. Ikuto Yoshiya, M.D.*
  1. *Intensive Care Unit, Osaka University Hospital, Osaka, Japan
  2. Department of Mucosal Immunology, Research Institute for Microbial Diseases, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan
  3. Department of Anesthesia, Nishinomiya Municipal Central Hospital, Hyogo, Japan.
  1. Reprint requests: Masahiro Sugimoto, M.D., Intensive Care Unit, Osaka University Hospital, Yamadaoka 2–15, Suita, Osaka 565, Japan.


Background and Objectives Clinical evidence suggests that stellate ganglion block (SGB) might modulate the immune system. Little is known, however, about the immunologic effects of SGB. We examined how SGB affected immune functions by analyzing the activation response of lymphocytes during SGB.

Methods Twenty-four volunteers were randomly subdivided into three groups. The SGB group (SGB; n = 9) received 6 mL 1% lidocaine at the sixth cervical vertebra (C6) transverse process and showed Horner's sign and elevation of ipsilateral facial and upper limb temperature. The lidocaine group (n = 7) had 6 mL 1% lidocaine injected into subcutaneous tissue at the neck and showed no remarkable clinical effects. The saline group (placebo; n = 8) received 6 mL saline solution injected at approximately the C6 transverse process and showed no remarkable clinical effects. Peripheral blood samples were drawn before and 30 minutes after drug administration. Samples were incubated for 4 hours under the stimulation of mitogen. Using flow cytometry, we measured the de novo expression of CD69, which is one of the initial markers of lymphocyte activation and which reflects the cell activation process. The changes in pre- and post-values were calculated and compared among the three groups.

Results In only the SGB group, the helper T-cell activation was significantly reduced, and the cytotoxic T-cell activation also tended to decrease after SGB.

Conclusions SGB may depress immune system activity for a short time, as reflected in the T-cell activation response. Reg Anesth Pain Med 1999: 24: 30–35.

  • CD69
  • stellate ganglion block
  • lymphocyte
  • immune system
  • sympathetic nervous system.

Statistics from


  • Work performed at Osaka University Hospital and supported in part by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture of Japan.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.