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1.  Epigenetic regulation of high glucose-induced proinflammatory cytokine productionin monocytes by curcumin 
Diabetes is a pro-inflammatory state. We have previously shown increased monocyte pro-inflammatory cytokines in patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. High glucose induces pro-inflammatory cytokines via epigenetic changes. Curcumin, a polyphenol responsible for the yellow color of the spice turmeric, is known to exert potent anti-inflammatory activity in vitro. Recent studies indicate that it may regulate chromatin remodeling by inhibiting histone acetylation. In this study, we aimed to test the effect of curcumin on histone acetylation and pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion under high-glucose conditions in human monocytes. Human monocytic (THP-1) cells were cultured in presence of mannitol (osmolar control, mannitol) or normoglycemic (NG, 5.5 mmol/L glucose) or hyperglycemic (HG, 25 mmol/L glucose) conditions in absence or presence of curcumin (1.5-12.5μM) for 72 h. Cytokine level, nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) transactivation, histone deacetylases (HDACs) activity, histone acetylases (HATs) activity were measured by western blots, qRT-PCR, ELISA, Immunofluorescence (IF) staining. HG significantly induced histone acetylation, NF-κB activity and pro-inflammatory cytokine (IL-6, TNF-α and MCP-1) release from THP-1 cells. Curcumin suppressed NF-κB binding and cytokine release in THP-1 cells. Also, since p300 histone acetyltransferase is a coactivator of NF-κB, we examined its acetylation. Curcumin treatment also significantly reduced HAT activity, level of p300 and acetylated CBP/p300 gene expression, and induced histone deacetylase 2 (HDAC2) expression by curcumin. These results indicate that curcumin decreases HG-induced cytokine production in monocytes via epigenetic changes involving NF-κB. In conclusion, curcumin supplementation by reducing vascular inflammation may prevent diabetic complications.
doi:10.1016/j.jnutbio.2010.03.014
PMCID: PMC3010508  PMID: 20655188
Acetylation; Deacetylation; p300; HDAC2; NF-κB
2.  High Insulin and Leptin Increase Resistin and Inflammatory Cytokine Production from Human Mononuclear Cells 
BioMed Research International  2012;2013:487081.
Resistin and the proinflammatory cytokines, such as TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-1β, produced by adipocytes, and macrophages, are considered to be important modulators of chronic inflammation contributing to the development of obesity and atherosclerosis. Human monocyte-enriched mononuclear cells, from ten healthy individuals, were exposed to high concentrations of insulin, leptin, and glucose (alone or in combination) for 24 hours in vitro. Resistin, TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-1β production was examined and compared to that in untreated cells. High insulin and leptin concentrations significantly upregulated resistin and the cytokines. The subsequent addition of high glucose significantly upregulated resistin and TNF-α mRNA and protein secretion, while it did not have any effect on IL-6 or IL-1β production. By comparison, exposure to dexamethasone reduced TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-1β production, while at this time point it increased resistin protein secretion. These data suggest that the expression of resistin, TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-1β from human mononuclear cells, might be enhanced by the hyperinsulinemia and hyperleptinemia and possibly by the hyperglycemia in metabolic diseases as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and atherosclerosis. Therefore, the above increased production may contribute to detrimental effects of their increased adipocyte-derived circulating levels on systemic inflammation, insulin sensitivity, and endothelial function of these patients.
doi:10.1155/2013/487081
PMCID: PMC3591160  PMID: 23484124
3.  CD56+ monocytes have a dysregulated cytokine response to lipopolysaccharide and accumulate in rheumatoid arthritis and immunosenescence 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2013;15(5):R139.
Introduction
Peripheral blood monocytes are no longer regarded as a homogeneous cell population, but can be differentiated both phenotypically and functionally into various subpopulations. In rheumatoid arthritis, the subpopulation of CD14bright/CD16+ monocyte is expanded and prone towards generation of Th17 cells. CD56+ monocytes represent a different subpopulation, which is also expanded in conditions associated with autoimmunity like inflammatory bowel diseases. The aim of the study was the quantification and functional characterization of the CD56+ monocyte subset in rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods
Frequencies of peripheral blood monocyte subpopulations were analyzed by flow cytometry in 86 healthy controls and 75 RA patients. In 16 patients, anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) therapy was initiated, and the CD56+ monocyte frequency was monitored longitudinally. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced cytokine production of CD56+ and CD56– monocytes was determined by intracellular staining or cytokine secretion assays.
Results
In healthy individuals, 8.6% ± 0.6 of the monocytes co-expressed CD56, with the majority of CD56+ monocytes being CD14bright (7.9% ± 0.5), while only a minor population was CD14dim (0.7% ± 0.1). We found a strong positive correlation between an individual’s age and the frequency of CD56+ monocytes. Upon stimulation with LPS, CD56+ monocytes became more frequently positive for TNF, IL-10 and IL-23 than CD56– monocytes. In addition, CD56+ monocytes spontaneously produced more reactive oxygen intermediates than CD56- monocytes. In RA patients, the frequency of CD56+ monocytes was significantly higher than in healthy controls (12.2% ± 0.9 vs. 7.9% ± 0.5, p = 0.0002), and this difference most pronounced in RA patients below 40 years of age (11.1% ± 1.6 vs. 4.1% ± 0.4, P < 0.0001). Treatment of the patients with an anti-TNF blocking agent significantly reduced CD56+ monocyte frequencies (baseline 12.4% vs. 24 weeks treatment 8.0%, P = 0.0429), and the magnitude of this decrease was found to correlate with the change in disease activity under the therapy.
Conclusion
The CD14bright/CD56+ monocyte subset is expanded in aging individuals as well as in patients with RA. The pro-inflammatory production of cytokines and reactive oxygen species as well as the elimination of those cells in patients with a good response towards TNF inhibiting agents indicates a possible contribution of those monocytes in the inflammatory response in RA.
doi:10.1186/ar4321
PMCID: PMC3978677  PMID: 24286519
4.  High Glucose Induces Toll-Like Receptor Expression in Human Monocytes 
Diabetes  2008;57(11):3090-3098.
OBJECTIVE—Hyperglycemia-induced inflammation is central in diabetes complications, and monocytes are important in orchestrating these effects. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) play a key role in innate immune responses and inflammation. However, there is a paucity of data examining the expression and activity of TLRs in hyperglycemic conditions. Thus, in the present study, we examined TLR2 and TLR4 mRNA and protein expression and mechanism of their induction in monocytic cells under high-glucose conditions.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—High glucose (15 mmol/l) significantly induced TLR2 and TLR4 expression in THP-1 cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner (P < 0.05). High glucose increased TLR expression, myeloid differentiation factor 88, interleukin-1 receptor–associated kinase-1, and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) p65-dependent activation in THP-1 cells. THP-1 cell data were further confirmed using freshly isolated monocytes from healthy human volunteers (n = 10).
RESULTS—Pharmacological inhibition of protein kinase C (PKC) activity and NADPH oxidase significantly decreased TLR2 and TLR4 mRNA and protein (P < 0.05). Knocking down both TLR2 and TLR4 in the cells resulted in a 76% (P < 0.05) decrease in high-glucose–induced NF-κB activity, suggesting an additive effect. Furthermore, PKC-α knockdown decreased TLR2 by 61% (P < 0.05), whereas inhibition of PKC-δ decreased TLR4 under high glucose by 63% (P < 0.05). Small inhibitory RNA to p47Phox in THP-1 cells abrogated high-glucose–induced TLR2 and TLR4 expression. Additional studies revealed that PKC-α, PKC-δ, and p47Phox knockdown significantly abrogated high-glucose–induced NF-κB activation and inflammatory cytokine secretion.
CONCLUSIONS—Collectively, these data suggest that high glucose induces TLR2 and -4 expression via PKC-α and PKC-δ, respectively, by stimulating NADPH oxidase in human monocytes.
doi:10.2337/db08-0564
PMCID: PMC2570406  PMID: 18650365
5.  Modulation of monocyte activation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis by leukapheresis therapy. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1993;91(3):862-870.
One of the hallmarks in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the intense activation of the monocyte-macrophage system. In the present investigation, the modulation of blood monocyte activation was studied with regard to the secretion of cytokines and inflammatory mediators, and to the expression of cytokine receptors. Patients with severe active RA underwent repeated leukapheresis procedures that removed all circulating monocytes. Highly enriched monocyte preparations from the first and third leukapheresis were studied. There were striking differences between the two monocyte populations. Cells obtained from the first leukapheresis constitutively released large amounts of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), neopterin, interleukin 1 beta (IL-1 beta) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). In particular, IL-1 beta and neopterin production were further enhanced by stimulation with either interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) or TNF-alpha without a synergistic effect. In contrast, cells derived from the third leukapheresis procedure showed a close to normal activation status with only low levels of cytokine and mediator production as well as a reduced response to cytokine stimulation. The number of the receptors for IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha was not changed between first and third leukapheresis. However, TNF-binding capacity was only detectable upon acid treatment of freshly isolated monocytes. A further upregulation was noted upon 24 h in vitro culture, suggesting occupation of membrane receptors and receptor down-regulation by endogenously produced TNF-alpha. Northern blot analysis of cytokine gene expression was in good correlation with the amount of mediators determined on the protein level. These data indicate that cells of the monocyte-macrophage system are already highly activated in the peripheral blood in RA patients with active disease. These cells can be efficiently removed by repeated leukapheresis and are replenished by monocytes that have, with respect to cytokine and mediator production, a considerably lower activation status.
Images
PMCID: PMC288038  PMID: 8450066
6.  Functional Activity of Monocytes and Macrophages in HTLV-1 Infected Subjects 
The Human T lymphotropic virus type-1 (HTLV-1) infects predominantly T cells, inducing proliferation and lymphocyte activation. Additionally, HTLV-1 infected subjects are more susceptible to other infections caused by other intracellular agents. Monocytes/macrophages are important cells in the defense against intracellular pathogens. Our aims were to determine the frequency of monocytes subsets, expression of co-stimulatory molecules in these cells and to evaluate microbicidal ability and cytokine and chemokine production by macrophages from HTLV-1 infected subjects. Participants were 23 HTLV-1 carriers (HC), 22 HAM/TSP patients and 22 healthy subjects (HS) not infected with HTLV-1. The frequencies of monocyte subsets and expression of co-stimulatory molecules were determined by flow cytometry. Macrophages were infected with L. braziliensis or stimulated with LPS. Microbicidal activity of macrophages was determined by optic microscopy. Cytokines/chemokines from macrophage supernatants were measured by ELISA. HAM/TSP patients showed an increase frequency of intermediate monocytes, but expression of co-stimulatory molecules was similar between the groups. Macrophages from HTLV-1 infected individuals were infected with L. braziliensis at the same ratio than macrophages from HS, and all the groups had the same ability to kill Leishmania parasites. However, macrophages from HTLV-1 infected subjects produced more CXCL9 and CCL5, and less IL-10 than cells from HS. While there was no correlation between IFN-γ and cytokine/chemokine production by macrophages, there was a correlation between proviral load and TNF and CXCL10. These data showed a dissociation between the inflammatory response and microbicidal ability of macrophages from HTLV-1 infected subjects. While macrophages ability to kill an intracellular pathogen did not differ among HTLV-1 infected subjects, these cells secreted high amount of chemokines even in unstimulated cultures. Moreover the increasing inflammatory activity of macrophages was similar in HAM/TSP patients and HC and it was related to HTLV-1 proviral load rather than the high IFN-γ production observed in these subjects.
Author Summary
HTLV-1 predominantly infects T cells, inducing cell proliferation and activation. While there is a larger amount of studies regarding T cells functions in HTLV-1 infected subjects, little is known about innate immunity. We evaluated monocyte and macrophage functions in HTLV-1 infected subjects. We observed that HAM/TSP patients have an increased frequency of intermediate monocytes, but expression of co-stimulatory molecules in these cells was similar between HTLV-1 infected subjects and healthy subjects (HS). Additionally, the microbicidal ability of macrophages from HTLV-1 infected subjects to kill Leishmania braziliensis is preserved, and these cells showed inflammatory profile, producing more CXCL9 and CCL5, and less IL-10 than macrophages from HS. It was important to determine if the exacerbated ability of macrophages to secrete cytokine was due to IFN-γ production. While there was no correlation between IFN-γ levels by PBMCs and cytokine/chemokine production by macrophages, there was a direct correlation between proviral load and TNF and CXCL10 levels. Our data indicate that despite the high production of proinflammatory mediators, macrophages from HTLV-1 infected subjects kill an intracellular pathogen in similar levels than cells from HS and pointed out for the role of viral factors inducing the inflammatory response in these cells.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0003399
PMCID: PMC4270688  PMID: 25521499
7.  Abnormal Production of Pro- and Anti-Inflammatory Cytokines by Lupus Monocytes in Response to Apoptotic Cells 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(3):e17495.
Monocytes are a key component of the innate immune system involved in the regulation of the adaptive immune response. Previous studies have focused on apoptotic cell clearance abnormalities in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) monocytes. However, whether SLE monocytes might express unique patterns of cytokine secretion in response to apoptotic cells is still unknown. Here, we used monocytes from healthy controls and SLE patients to evaluate the production of TNF-α and TGF-β in response to apoptotic cells. Upon recognition of apoptotic material, monocytes from healthy controls showed prominent TGF-β secretion (mean ± SD: 824.6±144.3 pg/ml) and minimal TNF-α production (mean ± SD: 32.6±2.1 pg/ml). In contrast, monocytes from SLE patients had prominent TNF-α production (mean ± SD: 302.2±337.5 pg/ml) and diminished TGF-β secretion (mean ± SD: 685.9±615.9 pg/ml), a difference that was statistically significant compared to normal monocytes (p≤10−6 for TNF-α secretion, and p = 0.0031 for TGF-β, respectively). Interestingly, the unique cytokine response by SLE monocytes was independent of their phagocytic clearance efficiency, opsonizing autoantibodies and disease activity. We further showed that nucleic acids from apoptotic cells play important role in the induction of TNF-α by lupus monocytes. Together, these observations suggest that, in addition to potential clearance defects, monocytes from SLE patients have an abnormal balance in the secretion of anti- and pro-inflammatory cytokines in response to apoptotic cells. Since the abnormal cytokine response to apoptotic material in SLE is not related to disease activity and opsonizing autoantibodies, it is possible that this response might be an intrinsic property of lupus monocytes. The studies focus attention on toll-like receptors (TLRs) and their downstream pathways as mediators of this response.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0017495
PMCID: PMC3056659  PMID: 21423726
8.  Fisetin Inhibits Hyperglycemia-Induced Proinflammatory Cytokine Production by Epigenetic Mechanisms 
Diabetes is characterized by a proinflammatory state, and several inflammatory processes have been associated with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes and the resulting complications. High glucose levels induce the release of proinflammatory cytokines. Fisetin, a flavonoid dietary ingredient found in the smoke tree (Cotinus coggygria), and is also widely distributed in fruits and vegetables. Fisetin is known to exert anti-inflammatory effects via inhibition of the NF-κB signaling pathway. In this study, we analyzed the effects of fisetin on proinflammatory cytokine secretion and epigenetic regulation, in human monocytes cultured under hyperglycemic conditions. Human monocytic (THP-1) cells were cultured under control (14.5 mmol/L mannitol), normoglycemic (NG, 5.5 mmol/L glucose), or hyperglycemic (HG, 20 mmol/L glucose) conditions, in the absence or presence of fisetin. Fisetin was added (3–10 μM) for 48 h. While the HG condition significantly induced histone acetylation, NF-κB activation, and proinflammatory cytokine (IL-6 and TNF-α) release from THP-1 cells, fisetin suppressed NF-κB activity and cytokine release. Fisetin treatment also significantly reduced CBP/p300 gene expression, as well as the levels of acetylation and HAT activity of the CBP/p300 protein, which is a known NF-κB coactivator. These results suggest that fisetin inhibits HG-induced cytokine production in monocytes, through epigenetic changes involving NF-κB. We therefore propose that fisetin supplementation be considered for diabetes prevention.
doi:10.1155/2012/639469
PMCID: PMC3539716  PMID: 23320034
9.  Effects of Porphyromonas gingivalis and Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharides on mononuclear phagocytes. 
Infection and Immunity  1997;65(8):3248-3254.
The mononuclear phagocyte plays an important role in the regulation of microbe-induced inflammation, in part through its ability to secrete mediators, particularly cytokines, in response to microorganisms and their products. To evaluate the effects of the microbial flora associated with chronic adult periodontitis on cytokine induction, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from the periodontopathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis was used to stimulate naive and phorbol ester-primed U937 monocytic cells, as well as elutriated human peripheral blood monocytes. We assessed the effect of this LPS, in comparison to that of LPS from Escherichia coli, on cell proliferation, cytokine induction, and surface expression of the LPS receptor CD14. P. gingivalis LPS stimulated proliferation of U937 cells at concentrations of greater than 1 ng/ml, while E. coli LPS inhibited proliferation. Phorbol myristic acid (PMA)-treated U937 cells and elutriated monocytes responded to E. coli LPS activation by producing tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) mRNA and protein; however, P. gingivalis LPS induced greater numbers of TNF-alpha mRNA-positive cells and higher (P < 0.05) levels of protein than did E. coli LPS. Both cell types expressed interleukin-1 beta (IL-1beta) mRNA and protein in response to either LPS treatment. Compared with E. coli LPS, P. gingivalis LPS induced significantly (P < 0.05) higher numbers of IL-1 mRNA-positive U937 cells and elutriated monocytes, as well as production of significantly more (P < 0.05) IL-1 protein by the monocytes. The PMA-treated U937 cells and the monocytes produced high levels of IL-1 receptor antagonist mRNA and protein which were only marginally affected by the LPS preparations. While E. coli LPS induced expression of CD 14 on the surface of PMA-primed U937 cells and monocytes, P. gingivalis LPS exhibited a significantly (P < 0.05) greater ability to enhance receptor levels. Our results indicate that P. gingivalis LPS can activate the mononuclear phagocyte for proliferation, cytokine production, and CD14 expression, providing evidence for the potential of this bacterial component to act as a critical regulatory factor in the chronic inflammatory response associated with periodontitis.
PMCID: PMC175459  PMID: 9234782
10.  SOCS1 regulates the IFN but not NFκB pathway in TLR-stimulated human monocytes and macrophages 
SOCS1 can regulate TLR-mediated signal transduction, yet mechanistic studies in murine macrophages have been confusing and contradictory. This study has used an adenoviral transfection system to determine the role of SOCS1 in the regulation of TNFα production by activated human monocytes. Monocytes were infected with AdV-SOCS1 or with an empty vector control, AdV-GFP, for 24 h prior to activation with the TLR4 ligand, LPS. SOCS1 did not regulate TNFα mRNA or protein production within the first two hours of TLR4 activation. However, SOCS1 suppressed the sustained production of TNFα by primary human monocytes and synovial fluid macrophages ex vivo. In addition, SOCS1 regulated the production of IL-6, but not IL-10, by monocytes. Analysis of the early signaling pathway downstream of TLR4 demonstrated that SOCS1 had no regulatory effect on the activation or on the DNA binding capacity of NFκB. The late effects of LPS are mediated in part through the MyD88-independent pathway activating IRF3 and initiating the production of IFNβ. In response to adenoviral infection and prior to LPS exposure, monocytes expressed enhanced levels of IFNβ and Myxovirus A (MxA) mRNA, an anti-viral molecule characterizing IFNβ activity. These two genes were reduced in AdV-SOCS1-infected cells. Further, SOCS1 regulated IFN-dependent pathways in LPS-activated cells as evidenced by reduced IFNβ production and STAT1 phosphorylation.
Using AdV-infection to dissect SOCS1 control of IFN-dependent pathways, this study suggests that SOCS1-regulation of the IFN-dependent component of the LPS-induced TLR4 signaling pathway may contribute to the down-regulation of inflammatory cytokine production by AdV-SOCS1-infected human monocytes.
PMCID: PMC3430718  PMID: 19017994
Human; Inflammation; Signal Transduction; TNF; Toll-like receptor
11.  Brugia malayi Microfilariae Induce a Regulatory Monocyte/Macrophage Phenotype That Suppresses Innate and Adaptive Immune Responses 
Background
Monocytes and macrophages contribute to the dysfunction of immune responses in human filariasis. During patent infection monocytes encounter microfilariae in the blood, an event that occurs in asymptomatically infected filariasis patients that are immunologically hyporeactive.
Aim
To determine whether blood microfilariae directly act on blood monocytes and in vitro generated macrophages to induce a regulatory phenotype that interferes with innate and adaptive responses.
Methodology and principal findings
Monocytes and in vitro generated macrophages from filaria non-endemic normal donors were stimulated in vitro with Brugia malayi microfilarial (Mf) lysate. We could show that monocytes stimulated with Mf lysate develop a defined regulatory phenotype, characterised by expression of the immunoregulatory markers IL-10 and PD-L1. Significantly, this regulatory phenotype was recapitulated in monocytes from Wuchereria bancrofti asymptomatically infected patients but not patients with pathology or endemic normals. Monocytes from non-endemic donors stimulated with Mf lysate directly inhibited CD4+ T cell proliferation and cytokine production (IFN-γ, IL-13 and IL-10). IFN-γ responses were restored by neutralising IL-10 or PD-1. Furthermore, macrophages stimulated with Mf lysate expressed high levels of IL-10 and had suppressed phagocytic abilities. Finally Mf lysate applied during the differentiation of macrophages in vitro interfered with macrophage abilities to respond to subsequent LPS stimulation in a selective manner.
Conclusions and significance
Conclusively, our study demonstrates that Mf lysate stimulation of monocytes from healthy donors in vitro induces a regulatory phenotype, characterized by expression of PD-L1 and IL-10. This phenotype is directly reflected in monocytes from filarial patients with asymptomatic infection but not patients with pathology or endemic normals. We suggest that suppression of T cell functions typically seen in lymphatic filariasis is caused by microfilaria-modulated monocytes in an IL-10-dependent manner. Together with suppression of macrophage innate responses, this may contribute to the overall down-regulation of immune responses observed in asymptomatically infected patients.
Author Summary
Lymphatic filariasis is a parasitic disease that affects over one million people worldwide, causing chronic morbidity in the majority of infected individuals. A certain proportion of individuals develop asymptomatic infection that allows persistence of the parasite and therefore transmission of disease through the blood-circulating microfilariae. We show that monocytes and macrophages, innate effector cells that circulate in the blood, migrate or reside in tissues and come into contact with microfilariae, can be stimulated by microfilarial (Mf) lysate in vitro to develop a regulatory phenotype via expression of PD-L1 and IL-10. Significantly, this regulatory monocyte phenotype was directly reflected in monocytes isolated from filaria asymptomatically infected patients in the absence of external stimuli. Mf lysate-modulated monocytes inhibited adaptive immune functions, some of which could be restored by neutralisation of IL-10. Mf lysate-modulated macrophages had reduced phagocytic capacity, while macrophages differentiated in the presence of Mf lysate displayed significantly inhibited innate responses to LPS stimulation. This suggests that microfilariae modulate the innate response by acting on macrophage differentiation and macrophages themselves, and modulate the adaptive CD4+ T cell response by acting on monocytes. The phenotypic pattern observed by modulated monocytes is recapitulated in vivo in active infection. This highlights a previously unclear mechanism of immune modulation by the parasite.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0003206
PMCID: PMC4183501  PMID: 25275395
12.  Mast cell activation and its relation to proinflammatory cytokine production in the rheumatoid lesion 
Arthritis Research  1999;2(1):65-74.
Mast cell (MC) activation in the rheumatoid lesion provides numerous mediators that contribute to inflammatory and degradative processes, especially at sites of cartilage erosion. MC activation in rheumatoid synovial tissue has often been associated with tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interleukin (IL)-1β production by adjacent cell types. By contrast, our in situ and in vitro studies have shown that the production of IL-15 was independent of MC activation, and was not related to TNF-α and IL-1β expression. Primary cultures of dissociated rheumatoid synovial cells produced all three proinflammatory cytokines, with production of IL-1β exceeding that of TNF-α, which in turn exceeded that of IL-15. In vitro cultures of synovial macrophages, synovial fibroblasts and articular chondrocytes all produced detectable amounts of free IL-15, macrophages being the most effective.
Introduction:
Increased numbers of mast cells (MCs) are found in the synovial tissues and fluids of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and at sites of cartilage erosion. MC activation has been reported for a significant proportion of rheumatoid specimens. Because the MC contains potent mediators, including histamine, heparin, proteinases, leukotrienes and multifunctional cytokines, its potential contributions to the processes of inflammation and matrix degradation have recently become evident.
Proinflammatory cytokines are important mediators of inflammation, immunity, proteolysis, cell recruitment and proliferation. Tumour necrosis factor (TNF) reportedly plays a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of RA, especially its ability to regulate interleukin (IL)-1β expression, this being important for the induction of prostanoid and matrix metalloproteinase production by synovial fibroblasts and chondrocytes. IL-15 has been assigned numerous biological effects and has been implicated as an important factor in TNF-α expression by monocyte/macrophages. Some in vitro studies have placed IL-15 upstream from TNF-α in the cytokine cascade, suggesting an interdependence between TNF, IL-1 and IL-15 for the promotion of proinflammatory cytokine expression in the rheumatoid joint.
Aims:
To examine the in situ relationships of TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-15 in relation to MC activation in rheumatoid tissues by use of immunolocalization techniques; and to compare quantitatively the proinflammatory cytokine production by specific cell cultures and rheumatoid synovial explants with and without exposure to a MC secretagogue.
Materials and methods:
Samples of rheumatoid synovial tissue and cartilage–pannus junction were obtained from patients (n = 15) with classic late-stage RA. Tissue sections were immunostained for MC (tryptase) and the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1, TNF-α and IL-15. Rheumatoid synovial tissue explants were cultured in Dulbecco's modified Eagles medium (DMEM) containing either the MC secretagogue rabbit antihuman immunoglobulin (Ig)E, or control rabbit IgG. Primary rheumatoid synovial cell cultures, human articular chondrocytes, synovial fibroblasts and synovial macrophages were prepared as described in the full article. Conditioned culture media from these cultures were collected and assayed for IL-1β, TNF-α and IL-15 using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay methodology.
Results:
Immunohistological studies of rheumatoid synovial tissues have demonstrated local concentrations of MCs in most specimens of the rheumatoid lesion. Sites of MC activation were associated with localized oedema, and TNF-α, IL-1α and IL-1β production by a proportion of mononuclear inflammatory cells. By contrast, no evidence was found for IL-15 production in tissue sites containing either intact or activated MCs, and IL-15 expression, when observed, bore no relation to tissue sites where TNF-α and IL-1β were evident. The immunodetection of IL-15 was restricted to microfocal sites and was not typical of most junctional specimens, but was associated with a proportion of articular chondrocytes in a minority of junctional specimens.
MC activation within synovial explant cultures was induced by the addition of polyclonal antibody to human IgE. MC activation significantly reduced the levels of TNF-α and IL1β released into the medium, this representing approximately 33% of control values. By contrast, MC activation had little effect on the levels of IL-15 released into the culture medium, the average value being very low in relation to the release of TNF-α and IL-1β . Thus, induced MC activation brings about changes in the amounts of released tryptase, TNF-α and IL-1β , but not of IL-15.
Four preparations of primary rheumatoid synovial cell cultures produced more IL-1β than TNF-α, with only modest values for IL-15 production, indicating that all three cytokines are produced and released as free ligands by these cultures. Of specific cell types that produced IL-15 in vitro, macrophages produced more than fibroblasts, which in turn produced more than chondrocytes. This demonstrates that all three cell types have the potential to produce IL-15 in situ.
Discussion:
The biological consequences of MC activation in vivo are extremely complex, and in all probability relate to the release of various combinations of soluble and granular factors, as well as to the expression of appropriate receptors by neighbouring cells. The subsequent synthesis and release of cytokines such as TNF-α and IL-1 may well follow at specific stages after activation, or may be an induced cytokine response by adjacent macrophagic or fibroblastic cells. However, because no IL-15 was detectable either in or around activated or intact MCs, and the induced MC activation explant study showed no change in IL-15 production, it seems unlikely that the expression of this cytokine is regulated by MCs. The immunohistochemistry (IHC) demonstration of IL-15 at sites of cartilage erosion, and especially by some chondrocytes of articular cartilage, showed no spatial relationship with either T cells or neutrophils, and suggests other functional properties in these locations. The lack of evidence for an in situ association of IL-15 with TNF and IL-1 does not support a role for IL-15 in a proinflammatory cytokine 'cascade', as proposed by other in vitro experiments. We believe that sufficient evidence is available, however, to suggest that MC activation makes a significant contribution to the pathophysiological processes of the rheumatoid lesion.
PMCID: PMC17805  PMID: 11219391
interleukin-15; interleukin-1β; mast cells; rheumatoid arthritis; tumour necrosis factor-α
13.  Net inflammatory capacity of human septic shock plasma evaluated by a monocyte-based target cell assay: identification of interleukin-10 as a major functional deactivator of human monocytes [published erratum appears in J Exp Med 1996 Nov 1;184(5):2075] 
We have developed a functional assay to study the inflammatory capacity of plasma collected from patients with severe gram-negative septic shock. In this assay, elutriation-purified, cryo-preserved human monocytes from one healthy donor are combined with plasma from patients with severe persistent septic shock for 5 h. Subsequently, the plasma is removed, medium added, and procoagulant activity (PCA) and secretion of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin 6 (IL-6) measured after 18-h incubation. Plasma from 10 patients (6 died) infected with Neisseria meningitidis previously shown to contain high levels of native lipopolysaccharide (LPS) (median 2,700 pg/ml), TNF- alpha, IL-6, IL-8, and complement activation products, had a low net spontaneous inflammatory capacity on the monocytes. The median levels of PCA, TNF-alpha, and IL-6 were 5, 0, and 4%, respectively, of the monocyte activities induced by normal plasma boosted with purified N. meningitidis (Nm)-LPS (2,500 pg/ml; net LPS-boosted capacity, 100%). The levels of PCA, TNF-alpha, and IL-6 obtained with plasma from shock patients were not different from those induced by plasma from 10 meningococcal patients without shock or with plasma from healthy persons. Boosting shock plasma with 2,500 pg/ml Nm-LPS had little effect on the monocyte activities since the median values of PCA, TNF- alpha, and IL-6 revealed a minimal increase from 5, 0, and 4% to 9, 2, and 6%, respectively. The shock plasmas revealed a strong LPS- inhibitory capacity that was largely absent in plasmas from 10 meningococcal patients without shock since the median levels of PCA, TNF-alpha, and IL-6 increased from 5, 0, and 0% to 135, 51, and 73%, respectively, after boosting with 2,500 pg/ml Nm-LPS. The LPS- inhibitory capacity was closely associated with the levels of IL-10. The median levels of IL-10 were 19,000 pg/ml in nine shock patients vs. 22 pg/ml in nine nonshock patients with systemic meningococcal disease. Removal of native IL-10 by immunoprecipitation restored the capacity of plasmas to induce monocyte activation either by native LPS or by boosting with Nm-LPS. IL-4 and TGF-beta were not detected in shock plasmas. In 24 patients with detectable meningococcal LPS ( > 10 pg/ml, 0.1 endotoxin units/ml), the levels of IL-10 were correlated to the levels of LPS (r = 0.79, P < 0.001). IL-10 declined from initiation of antibiotic therapy and paralleled the levels of native LPS. Decreasing levels of IL-10 in serially collected shock plasmas were directly related to increasing monocyte responsiveness after Nm-LPS boosting. These results suggest that IL-10 plays a major role in containing activation of monocytes and possibly other LPS-responsive cells during overwhelming meningococcemia.
PMCID: PMC2192662  PMID: 8691149
14.  Enzyme-Linked Immunospot Assays Provide a Sensitive Tool for Detection of Cytokine Secretion by Monocytes 
Blood monocytes as well as tissue-differentiated macrophages play a pivotal role in controlling immune reactions. Monocytes regulate the extent, nature, and duration of immune responses by secretion of cytokines. Interleukin 6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), IL-10, and IL-12 are of particular interest, since IL-12 shifts the immune response towards a Th1 type, facilitating the production of, e.g., TNF-α and IL-6, while IL-10 counteracts Th1 responses and promotes the production of Th2-related cytokines such as IL-4. A tight regulation of these four cytokines keeps the balance and decides whether Th1 or Th2 will predominate in immune reactions. Enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assays are among the most-sensitive and -specific methods available for cytokine research. They permit ex vivo identification of individual cells actively secreting cytokines. In the present study we prepared monocytes from healthy subjects' blood and adapted ELISPOT assays to define optimal conditions to detect and enumerate monocytes secreting IL-6, TNF-α, IL-10, and IL-12. The optimal time for monocyte incubation was 24 h, and optimal monocyte numbers (in cells per well) were 2,000 for IL-6, 1,000 for TNF-α, 50,000 for IL-10, and 100,000 for enumeration of IL-12 secreting monocytes. Among healthy subjects, 10% ± 5% of the monocytes secreted IL-6, 12% ± 12% secreted TNF-α, 0.1% ± 0.1% secreted IL-10, and 0.2% ± 0.3% secreted IL-12 (values are means ± standard deviations). In conclusion, ELISPOT assays constitute a valuable tool to enumerate monocytes secreting IL-6, TNF-α, IL-10, and IL-12 and probably to enumerate monocytes secreting other cytokines and proteins.
doi:10.1128/CDLI.8.6.1248-1257.2001
PMCID: PMC96257  PMID: 11687471
15.  Palmitate Induced IL-6 and MCP-1 Expression in Human Bladder Smooth Muscle Cells Provides a Link between Diabetes and Urinary Tract Infections 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(5):e10882.
Background
Urinary tract infections (UTI) are more frequent in type-2 diabetes mellitus patients than in subjects with normal glucose metabolism. The mechanisms underlying this higher prevalence of UTI are unknown. However, cytokine levels are altered in diabetic patients and may thus contribute to the development of UTI. Increased levels of free fatty acids (FFA), as observed in obese patients, can induce IL-6 production in various cell types.
Therefore we studied the effects of the free fatty acid palmitate and bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on interleukin-6 (IL-6) and monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) expression and secretion in cultured human bladder smooth muscle cells (hBSMC).
Methodology/Principal Findings
Biopsies were taken from patients undergoing cystectomy due to bladder cancer. Palmitate or LPS stimulated hBSMC were analysed for the production and secretion of the IL-6, gp80, gp80soluble, gp130, MCP-1, pSTAT3, SOCS3, NF-κB and SHP2 by quantitative PCR, ELISA, Western blotting, and confocal immunofluorescence. In signal transduction inhibition experiments we evaluated the involvement of NF-κB and MEK1 in IL-6 and MCP-1 regulation. Palmitate upregulates IL-6 mRNA expression and secretion via NF-κB dependent pathways in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. MCP-1 was moderately upregulated by palmitate but was strongly upregulated by LPS involving NF-κB and MEK1 dependent pathways. Soluble IL-6 receptor (gp80soluble) was downregulated by palmitate and LPS, while membrane-bound gp80 was moderately upregulated. LPS increased SOCS3 and SHP2, whereas palmitate only induced SOCS3. Secondary finding: most of the IL-6 is secreted.
Conclusions/Significance
Bacterial infection (LPS) or metabolic alterations (palmitate) have distinct effects on IL-6 expression in hBSMC, (i) short term LPS induced autocrine JAK/STAT signaling and (ii) long-term endocrine regulation of IL-6 by palmitate. Induction of IL-6 in human bladder smooth muscle cells by fatty acids may represent a pathogenetic factor underlying the higher frequency and persistence of urinary tract infections in patients with metabolic diseases.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010882
PMCID: PMC2878332  PMID: 20526368
16.  Infiltrating Blood-Derived Macrophages Are Vital Cells Playing an Anti-inflammatory Role in Recovery from Spinal Cord Injury in Mice 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(7):e1000113.
Using a mouse model of spinal injury, Michal Schwartz and colleagues tested the effect of macrophages on the recovery process and demonstrate an important anti-inflammatory role for a subset of infiltrating monocyte-derived macrophages that is dependent upon their expression of interleukin 10.
Background
Although macrophages (MΦ) are known as essential players in wound healing, their contribution to recovery from spinal cord injury (SCI) is a subject of debate. The difficulties in distinguishing between different MΦ subpopulations at the lesion site have further contributed to the controversy and led to the common view of MΦ as functionally homogenous. Given the massive accumulation in the injured spinal cord of activated resident microglia, which are the native immune occupants of the central nervous system (CNS), the recruitment of additional infiltrating monocytes from the peripheral blood seems puzzling. A key question that remains is whether the infiltrating monocyte-derived MΦ contribute to repair, or represent an unavoidable detrimental response. The hypothesis of the current study is that a specific population of infiltrating monocyte-derived MΦ is functionally distinct from the inflammatory resident microglia and is essential for recovery from SCI.
Methods and Findings
We inflicted SCI in adult mice, and tested the effect of infiltrating monocyte-derived MΦ on the recovery process. Adoptive transfer experiments and bone marrow chimeras were used to functionally distinguish between the resident microglia and the infiltrating monocyte-derived MΦ. We followed the infiltration of the monocyte-derived MΦ to the injured site and characterized their spatial distribution and phenotype. Increasing the naïve monocyte pool by either adoptive transfer or CNS-specific vaccination resulted in a higher number of spontaneously recruited cells and improved recovery. Selective ablation of infiltrating monocyte-derived MΦ following SCI while sparing the resident microglia, using either antibody-mediated depletion or conditional ablation by diphtheria toxin, impaired recovery. Reconstitution of the peripheral blood with monocytes resistant to ablation restored the lost motor functions. Importantly, the infiltrating monocyte-derived MΦ displayed a local anti-inflammatory beneficial role, which was critically dependent upon their expression of interleukin 10.
Conclusions
The results of this study attribute a novel anti-inflammatory role to a unique subset of infiltrating monocyte-derived MΦ in SCI recovery, which cannot be provided by the activated resident microglia. According to our results, limited recovery following SCI can be attributed in part to the inadequate, untimely, spontaneous recruitment of monocytes. This process is amenable to boosting either by active vaccination with a myelin-derived altered peptide ligand, which indicates involvement of adaptive immunity in monocyte recruitment, or by augmenting the naïve monocyte pool in the peripheral blood. Thus, our study sheds new light on the long-held debate regarding the contribution of MΦ to recovery from CNS injuries, and has potentially far-reaching therapeutic implications.
Please see later in the article for Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Every year, spinal cord injuries paralyze about 11,000 people in the US. The spinal cord, which contains bundles of nervous system cells called neurons, is the communication highway between the brain and the body. Messages from the brain travel down the spinal cord to control movement, breathing and other bodily functions; messages from the skin and other sensory organs travel up the spinal cord to keep the brain informed about the body. The bones of the spine normally protect the spinal cord but, if these are broken or displaced, the spinal cord can be cut or compressed, which interrupts the information flow. Damage near the top of the spinal cord paralyzes the arms and legs (tetraplegia); damage lower down paralyzes the legs only (paraplegia). Spinal cord injuries also cause other medical problems, including the loss of bladder and bowel control. Currently, there is no effective treatment for spinal cord injuries, which usually cause permanent disability because the damaged nerve fibers rarely regrow.
Why Was This Study Done?
After a spinal cord injury, immune system cells called macrophages accumulate at the injury site. Some of these macrophages—so-called monocyte-derived macrophages—come into (infiltrate) the spinal cord from the blood in response to the injury, whereas others—microglia—are always in the nervous system. Although macrophages are essential for wound healing in other parts of the body, it is unclear whether they have good or bad effects in the spinal cord. Many experts believe that immune system cells hinder healing in the spinal cord and should be suppressed or eliminated, but other scientists claim that macrophages secrete factors that stimulate nerve regrowth. Furthermore, although some macrophages elsewhere in the body have proinflammatory (potentially deleterious) effects, others have anti-inflammatory (beneficial) effects. So do the infiltrating monocyte-derived macrophages and the resident microglia (which are proinflammatory) have different functions at spinal cord injury sites? In this study, the researchers try to answer this important question.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers bruised a small section of the spinal cord of adult mice and then investigated the effect of infiltrating monocyte-derived macrophages on the recovery process. Monocyte-derived macrophages and microglia cannot be distinguished using standard staining techniques so to study their behavior after spinal cord injury the researchers introduced labeled monocyte-derived macrophages into their experimental animals by using adoptive transfer (injection of genetically labeled monocytes into the animals) or by making bone marrow chimeras. In this second technique, the animals' monocyte-derived macrophages (but not their microglia) were killed by irradiating the animals before injection of genetically labeled bone marrow, the source of monocytes. Using these approaches, the researchers found that monocyte-derived macrophages collected at the margins of spinal cord injury sites whereas microglia accumulated throughout the sites. When the pool of monocyte-derived macrophages in the mice was increased by adoptive transfer or by using a technique called “CNS-specific vaccination,” more monocyte-derived macrophages infiltrated the injury site and the animals' physical recovery from injury improved. Conversely, removal of the infiltrating monocyte-derived macrophages from the injury site reduced the animals' physical recovery. Other experiments indicated that the infiltrating monocyte-derived macrophages have a beneficial, local anti-inflammatory effect that is dependent on their expression of interleukin-10 (an anti-inflammatory signaling molecule).
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings provide new information about the contribution of monocyte-derived macrophages to spontaneous recovery from spinal cord injury, a contribution that has long been debated. In particular, the findings suggest that this subset of macrophages (but not the resident microglia) has a beneficial effect on spinal cord injuries that is mediated by their production of the anti-inflammatory molecule interleukin-10. The findings also show that the effect of these monocyte-derived macrophages can be boosted, at least in mice. Although results obtained in experiments done in animals do not always accurately reflect what happens in people, this new understanding of the different functions of microglia and infiltrating monocyte-derived macrophages after injury to the spinal cord may eventually lead to the development of better treatments for spinal cord injuries.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000113.
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia provides information about spinal cord injuries (in English and Spanish)
The US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke provides detailed information about spinal cord injury, including information on current research into the problem (in English and Spanish)
MedlinePlus provides an interactive tutorial on spinal cord injury and a list of links to additional information (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000113
PMCID: PMC2707628  PMID: 19636355
17.  Acute Alcohol Intake Induces SOCS1 and SOCS3 and Inhibits Cytokine-Induced STAT1 and STAT3 Signaling in Human Monocytes 
Background
Acute alcohol consumption is associated with induction of immuno-inhibitory cytokines and down-regulation of pro-inflammatory responses to various pathogens. We previously reported that alcohol activates janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK/STAT) signaling leading to IL-10 induction. The JAK-STAT pathway also activates its own negative regulators, suppressors of cytokine signaling (SOCS) 1 and SOCS3. SOCS proteins are inducible inhibitors that negatively regulate STAT3/STAT1 signaling pathways induced by cytokines, IL-6 or IFNs. Here we aimed to explore the effect of acute alcohol on induction of SOCS1/SOCS3 and regulation of STAT3/STAT1 pathways induced by IL-6 or IFNs in human monocytes.
Methods
Blood samples from normal volunteers were collected before and 24 hours after consumption of 2 ml vodka/kg body weight. For in vitro experiments human monocytes were pretreated with ethanol (EtOH) followed by stimulation with cytokines; proteins were analyzed by Western blot, nuclear protein binding to DNA by EMSA, and RNA by real time PCR.
Results: Acute in vivo or in vitro alcohol treatment increased both SOCS1 and SOCS3 RNA expression in monocytes. Alcohol treatment resulted in increased STAT3 and STAT1 DNA binding capacity. Activation of both STAT1 and STAT3 has been shown to induce SOCS1/3. We hypothesized that induction of SOCS proteins by alcohol in turn may lead to modulation of cytokine signaling through STAT1 and STAT3. Indeed, we observed significant down-regulation of IL-6-, IFNα- and IFNγ-induced STAT1 DNA binding as well as inhibition of IL-6- and IFNγ-induced STAT3 when alcohol was added to monocytes 3 hours prior to the cytokine stimulation. Consistent with inhibition of IL-6-induced STAT3 DNA binding in alcohol-pretreated cells, the levels of IL-6-dependent genes, MCP-1 and ICAM-1, was reduced after IL-6 stimulation. Similar to EtOH alone, combined EtOH+IL-6 simulation resulted in increased expression of both SOCS3 and SOCS1 genes.
Conclusion
While acute alcohol treatment alone activates STAT1/3 signaling pathways and induces SOCS3 and SOCS1 levels in monocytes, alcohol also leads to down-regulation of IL-6-, IFNα-, and IFNγ-induced signaling via STAT1/STAT3 pathways, likely through excessive SOCS activation.
doi:10.1111/j.1530-0277.2008.00726.x
PMCID: PMC4116614  PMID: 18616672
Toll-Like Receptor 4; Lipopolysacharide (LPS); In Vivo; In Vitro; Ethanol
18.  Heat shock protein 70 down-regulates the production of toll-like receptor-induced pro-inflammatory cytokines by a heat shock factor-1/constitutive heat shock element-binding factor-dependent mechanism 
Background
Heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) is an intracellular chaperone protein with regulatory and cytoprotective functions. Hsp70 can also be found in the extracellular milieu, as a result of active secretion or passive release from damaged cells. The role of extracellular Hsp70 is not fully understood. Some studies report that it activates monocytes, macrophages and dendritic cells through innate immune receptors (such as Toll-like receptors, TLRs), while others report that Hsp70 is a negative regulator of the inflammatory response. In order to address this apparent inconsistency, in this study we evaluated the response of human monocytes to a highly purified recombinant Hsp70.
Methods
Human peripheral blood monocytes were stimulated with Hsp70, alone or in combination with TLR agonists. Cytokines were quantified in culture supernatants, their mRNAs were measured by RT-PCR, and the binding of transcription factors was evaluated by electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA). Kruskal-Wallis test or one-way or two-way ANOVA were used to analyze the data.
Results
The addition of Hsp70 to TLR-activated monocytes down-regulated TNF-α as well as IL-6 levels. This effect was independent of a physical interaction between Hsp70 and TLR agonists; instead it resulted of changes at the TNF-α gene expression level. The decrease in TNF-α expression correlated with the binding of HSF-1 (heat shock transcription factor 1, a transcription factor activated in response to Hsp70) and CHBF (constitutive HSE-binding factor) to the TNF-α gene promoter.
Conclusion
Extracellular Hsp70 negatively regulates the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines of monocytes exposed to TLR agonists and contributes to dampen the inflammatory response.
doi:10.1186/1476-9255-11-19
PMCID: PMC4105516  PMID: 25053922
Heat shock protein 70; Inflammatory response; HSF-1; CHBF; Toll-like receptors
19.  Phenotypic and functional evaluations of peripheral blood monocytes from chronic-form paracoccidioidomycosis patients before and after treatment 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14(1):552.
Background
Paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) is systemic mycosis caused by the thermal dimorphic fungus of genus Paracoccidioides, leading to either acute/subacute (AF) or chronic (CF) clinical forms. Numerous CF patients after treatment exhibit sequels, such as pulmonary and adrenal fibrosis. Monocytes are cells that are involved in the inflammatory response during active infection as well as in the fibrogenesis. These cells comprise a heterogeneous population with distinct phenotypic and functional activities. The scope of this study was to identify changes regarding functional and phenotypical aspects in monocytes comparing CF PCM patients on antifungal treatment versus non-treated patients (PMC-p).
Methods
Twenty-three CF PCM composed of 11 non-treated patients (NTG) and 12 patients in apparent cure (ACG) were studied. Sixteen healthy individuals were used as control group (CG). Monocyte subsets were determined by immunophenotyping based on CD14 and CD16 expression. Cellular function was measured in vitro with and without stimulation with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and P. brasiliensis exoantigen (PbAg) for 24 hours. Independent samples were compared using unpaired t tests, dependent samples were analyzed by paired t-test. Groups of more than two independent samples were analyzed using an ANOVA, with Tukey’s post-test. Significance was set up at p <0.05.
Results
Our results showed high counts of peripheral blood CD14+CD16+ and CD14+CD16++ monocytes in untreated PCM-p accompanied by intense production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β and TNF-α) and profibrotic growth factors (TGF-β1 and bFGF) by monocytes challenged with P. brasiliensis antigens. After the introduction of antifungal therapy, the counts of CD14+CD16+ cells returned to baseline while CD14+CD16++ counts remained high. Interestingly, counts of CD14+CD16++ monocytes remained elevated even 52 ± 7 months after successful antifungal treatment. Furthermore, the ACG-patients showed preserved pro-inflammatory activity in the presence of specific antigen stimuli and high spontaneous production of TNF-α by monocytes.
Conclusions
Infection with Paracoccidioides leads to initiation of a specific proinflammatory response by monocytes of PCM-p during active disease and in the apparent cure. A profibrotic profile by monocytes was observed only at admission. Furthermore, PCM-p with apparent cure showed high spontaneous production of TNF-α and high counts of CD14+CD16++ monocytes, probably induced by hypoxia duo to fibrotic sequelae.
doi:10.1186/s12879-014-0552-x
PMCID: PMC4201701  PMID: 25314914
Paracoccidioidomycosis; Monocyte subsets; Pulmonary fibrosis; Antifungal therapy
20.  Attenuated antigen-specific T cell responses in cirrhosis are accompanied by elevated serum interleukin-10 levels and down-regulation of HLA-DR on monocytes 
BMC Gastroenterology  2013;13:37.
Background
Advanced liver disease predisposes to bacterial translocation and endotoxaemia which can contribute to elevated circulating levels of IL-10 and down-regulation of MHC class II on antigen-presenting cells. We sought to evaluate antigen-specific T-cell responses toward common viral antigens in order to investigate defects in cellular immunity in cirrhosis.
Methods
Peripheral blood was obtained from 22 cirrhotic patients with systemic inflammation, 13 cirrhotic patients without systemic inflammation and 14 healthy controls. C-reactive protein was used as an indicator for systemic inflammation using a cut-off of 10 mg/l. Intracellular Th1 cytokines were quantified after T cell-stimulation with the viral peptides EBNA1 and BZLF1 or the bacterial superantigen SEB by flow cytometry. Serum levels of lipopolysaccharide-binding protein (LBP) and IL-10 were quantified by ELISA.
Results
Compared to healthy controls, patients with cirrhosis had higher circulating levels of LBP and IL-10, an expansion of peripheral blood CD14+ monocytes with low HLA-DR expression and an increased fraction of CD25-positive CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. These findings were most pronounced in cirrhotic patients with systemic inflammation but fell short of reaching statistical significance when comparing against cirrhotic patients without systemic inflammation. In the former group TNF-α production in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells was reduced after stimulation with SEB, whereas there was no significant difference between the total cohort of cirrhotic patients and controls. After stimulation with the overlapping peptide pools for viral antigens EBNA1 and BZLF1, the number of responding T cells and the amount of TNF-α or IFN-γ production did not differ between the three pre-defined groups. However, cirrhotic patients with null-responses to EBV peptides had significantly higher serum IL-10 levels than responders to EBV peptides. Furthermore, TNF-α production in responding T cells was attenuated in patients with a high frequency of CD14+ HLA-DR- monocytes.
Conclusion
Our data suggest that bacterial translocation, endotoxaemia, inflammation and T cell activation in cirrhosis are accompanied by an increase in circulating anti-inflammatory cytokines, reduced monocytic MHC class II expression and attenuated cytokine production in T cells. These changes are likely to contribute to altered adaptive immune responses during infection or after vaccination.
doi:10.1186/1471-230X-13-37
PMCID: PMC3598528  PMID: 23446058
Cirrhosis; Adaptive immunity; Cellular immunity; Virus-specific T cell responses; Bacterial translocation; Interleukin-10
21.  Suppressors of cytokine signalling (SOCS) are reduced in osteoarthritis 
Objectives
Suppressor of cytokine signalling (SOCS) proteins are inhibitors of cytokine signalling that function via the JAK/STAT pathway (Janus kinase/signal transducers and activators of transcription). Eight SOCS proteins, SOCS1–SOCS7 and CIS-1 (cytokine-inducible SH2-domain, with similar structure to the other SOCS proteins) have been identified, of which SOCS1, 2, and 3 and CIS-1 are the best characterised. A characteristic feature of osteoarthritis (OA) is increased production by articular chondrocytes of proinflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα), which may be induced by mechanotransduction and contribute to cartilage destruction. In this study, we have compared the gene expression of SOCS1, 2, 3 and CIS-1 in healthy and OA human chondrocytes, and also analyzed the effects of IL-1β and TNFα on the levels of mRNA encoding these SOCS family members. In addition, SOCS2 protein production was assessed and the CpG methylation status of the SOCS2 promoter was analyzed to determine the role of epigenetics in its regulation.
Methods
Femoral heads were obtained after joint replacement surgery for late stage OA and hemiarthroplasty following a fracture of the neck of femur (#NOF). Chondrocytes from the superficial layer of OA cartilage and the deep zone of #NOF cartilage were isolated by sequential treatment with trypsin, hyaluronidase and collagenase B. Total DNA and RNA were extracted from the same chondrocytes, and the levels of SOCS1, 2, 3 and CIS-1 mRNA were determined by qRT-PCR. The percentage of methylation in the CpG sites of the SOCS2 proximal promoter was quantified by pyrosequencing. Alternatively, healthy chondrocytes were isolated from #NOF cartilage and cultured with and without a mixture of IL-1β and oncostatin M (OSM, both 2.5 ng/ml) or TNFα (10 ng/ml). The short-term cultures with single cytokine treatment were harvested 24 and 72 h after treatment, and the long-term cultures were maintained for 4–5 weeks until confluent with periodical cytokine stimulation. Total RNA was extracted and mRNA levels were determined by qRT-PCR.
Results
The SOCS2 and CIS-1 mRNA levels were reduced by approximately 10-fold in OA samples compared to control samples, while SOCS1 and SOCS3 showed similar expression patterns in OA and control chondrocytes. The SOCS2 and CIS-1 mRNA levels declined by 6-fold and 3-fold with long-term treatment with IL-1β and OSM in combination and TNFα, respectively. There was no significant difference in the CpG methylation status of the SOCS2 promoter between healthy and OA chondrocytes. Similarly, cytokine stimulation did not change the CpG methylation status of the SOCS2 promoter.
Conclusions
This study demonstrates the reduced expression of SOCS2 and CIS-1 in OA, while SOCS1 and SOCS3 were unaffected. The observation that long-term treatment with inflammatory cytokines attenuated the expression of SOCS2 and CIS-1 suggests a potential positive feedback mechanism, and a role of SOCS in the pathology of OA.
doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2011.02.101
PMCID: PMC3937865  PMID: 21352802
Osteoarthritis (OA); Chondrocytes; Suppressors of cytokine signalling (SOCS); Cytokine-inducible SH2 protein (CIS-1); IL-1β; TNFα
22.  Interleukin 10(IL-10) inhibits cytokine synthesis by human monocytes: an autoregulatory role of IL-10 produced by monocytes 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  1991;174(5):1209-1220.
In the present study we demonstrate that human monocytes activated by lipopolysaccharides (LPS) were able to produce high levels of interleukin 10 (IL-10), previously designated cytokine synthesis inhibitory factor (CSIF), in a dose dependent fashion. IL-10 was detectable 7 h after activation of the monocytes and maximal levels of IL-10 production were observed after 24-48 h. These kinetics indicated that the production of IL-10 by human monocytes was relatively late as compared to the production of IL-1 alpha, IL-1 beta, IL-6, IL-8, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha), and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), which were all secreted at high levels 4-8 h after activation. The production of IL-10 by LPS activated monocytes was, similar to that of IL-1 alpha, IL-1 beta, IL-6, IL-8, TNF alpha, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), and G-CSF, inhibited by IL-4. Furthermore we demonstrate here that IL-10, added to monocytes, activated by interferon gamma (IFN-gamma), LPS, or combinations of LPS and IFN-gamma at the onset of the cultures, strongly inhibited the production of IL-1 alpha, IL-1 beta, IL-6, IL-8, TNF alpha, GM-CSF, and G-CSF at the transcriptional level. Viral-IL-10, which has similar biological activities on human cells, also inhibited the production of TNF alpha and GM-CSF by monocytes following LPS activation. Activation of monocytes by LPS in the presence of neutralizing anti-IL-10 monoclonal antibodies resulted in the production of higher amounts of cytokines relative to LPS treatment alone, indicating that endogenously produced IL-10 inhibited the production of IL-1 alpha, IL-1 beta, IL-6, IL-8, TNF alpha, GM-CSF, and G-CSF. In addition, IL-10 had autoregulatory effects since it strongly inhibited IL-10 mRNA synthesis in LPS activated monocytes. Furthermore, endogenously produced IL-10 was found to be responsible for the reduction in class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) expression following activation of monocytes with LPS. Taken together our results indicate that IL-10 has important regulatory effects on immunological and inflammatory responses because of its capacity to downregulate class II MHC expression and to inhibit the production of proinflammatory cytokines by monocytes.
PMCID: PMC2119001  PMID: 1940799
23.  Palmitate and insulin synergistically induce IL-6 expression in human monocytes 
Background
Insulin resistance is associated with a proinflammatory state that promotes the development of complications such as type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and atherosclerosis. The metabolic stimuli that initiate and propagate proinflammatory cytokine production and the cellular origin of proinflammatory cytokines in insulin resistance have not been fully elucidated. Circulating proinflammatory monocytes show signs of enhanced inflammation in obese, insulin resistant subjects and are thus a potential source of proinflammatory cytokine production. The specific, circulating metabolic factors that might stimulate monocyte inflammation in insulin resistant subjects are poorly characterized. We have examined whether saturated nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) and insulin, which increase in concentration with developing insulin resistance, can trigger the production of interleukin (IL)-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α in human monocytes.
Methods
Messenger RNA and protein levels of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-α were measured by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) and Luminex bioassays. Student's t-test was used with a significance level of p < 0.05 to determine significance between treatment groups.
Results
Esterification of palmitate with coenzyme A (CoA) was necessary, while β-oxidation and ceramide biosynthesis were not required, for the induction of IL-6 and TNF-α in THP-1 monocytes. Monocytes incubated with insulin and palmitate together produced more IL-6 mRNA and protein, and more TNF-α protein, compared to monocytes incubated with palmitate alone. Incubation of monocytes with insulin alone did not affect the production of IL-6 or TNF-α. Both PI3K-Akt and MEK/ERK signalling pathways are important for cytokine induction by palmitate. MEK/ERK signalling is necessary for synergistic induction of IL-6 by palmitate and insulin.
Conclusions
High levels of saturated NEFA, such as palmitate, when combined with hyperinsulinemia, may activate human monocytes to produce proinflammatory cytokines and support the development and propagation of the subacute, chronic inflammatory state that is characteristic of insulin resistance. Results with inhibitors of β-oxidation and ceramide biosynthesis pathways suggest that increased fatty acid flux through the glycerolipid biosynthesis pathway may be involved in promoting proinflammatory cytokine production in monocytes.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-9-73
PMCID: PMC2988002  PMID: 21054880
24.  Maggot Secretions Skew Monocyte-Macrophage Differentiation Away from a Pro-Inflammatory to a Pro-Angiogenic Type 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(11):e8071.
Background
Maggots of the blowfly Lucilia sericata are used for the treatment of chronic wounds. Earlier we reported maggot secretions to inhibit pro-inflammatory responses of human monocytes. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of maggot secretions on the differentiation of monocytes into pro-inflammatory (MØ-1) and anti-inflammatory/pro-angiogenic macrophages (MØ-2) as these cells play a central role in wound healing.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Freshly isolated monocytes were incubated with secretions and GM-CSF or M-CSF for 6 days and then stimulated with LPS or LTA for 18 h. The expression of cell surface molecules and the levels of cytokines, chemokines and growth factors in supernatants were measured. Our results showed secretions to affect monocyte-macrophage differentiation leading to MØ-1 with a partial MØ-2-like morphology but lacking CD163, which is characteristic for MØ-2. In response to LPS or LTA, secretions-differentiated MØ-1 produced less pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-12p40 and MIF) than control cells. Similar results were observed for MØ-2 when stimulated with low concentrations of LPS. Furthermore, secretions dose-dependently led to MØ-1 and MØ-2 characterized by an altered chemokine production. Secretions led to MØ-2, but not MØ-1, producing enhanced levels of the growth factors bFGF and VEGF, as compared to control cells. The expression of cell-surface receptors involved in LPS/LTA was enhanced by secretions, that of CD86 and HLA-DR down-regulated, while receptors involved in phagocytosis remained largely unaffected.
Conclusions
Maggot secretions skew the differentiation of monocytes into macrophages away from a pro-inflammatory to a pro-angiogenic type.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008071
PMCID: PMC2778998  PMID: 19956650
25.  Interleukin 10 (IL-10) regulation of tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) from human alveolar macrophages and peripheral blood monocytes. 
Thorax  1996;51(2):143-149.
BACKGROUND: Regulation of the inflammatory response within the human lung is essential to prevent this important part of the normal host defence response becoming a pathological process. Tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) is a cytokine involved in the pathogenesis of shock and in granuloma formation, tissue necrosis, and fibrosis in many organ systems including the lung. Interleukin 10 (IL-10) has been proposed as having an inhibitory effect on the production of several inflammatory cytokines including TNF-alpha. METHODS: The effect of IL-10 administration on TNF-alpha production was explored in human alveolar macrophages and peripheral blood monocytes from matched individuals. The effects of IL-10 on TNF-alpha protein production were determined by sandwich enzyme linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA), whereas the TNF-alpha mRNA response was established by Northeren blotting using a TNF-alpha specific oligonucleotide probe. The protein synthesis inhibitors actinomycin D and cyclohexamide were utilised to monitor IL-10 effects on mRNA degradation and de novo protein synthesis, respectively. RESULTS: The lipopolysaccharide-mediated TNF-alpha production in alveolar macrophages was reduced from 3.508 (0.629) to 2.035 (0.385) ng/ml by 100 U/ml IL-10. Lipopolysaccharide-induced TNF-alpha production in peripheral blood monocytes was reduced from 2.035 (0.284) to 0.698 (0.167) ng/ml. TNF-alpha gene expression was also inhibited in both alveolar macrophages and peripheral blood monocytes; lipopolysaccharide-induced TNF-alpha mRNA was reduced by 47.8 (15.2)% and 83.1 (4.2)%, respectively, by IL-10. The IL-10 mediated suppression of TNF-alpha mRNA was unaffected by addition of cyclohexamide, suggesting that de novo protein synthesis was not required for TNF-alpha inhibition. mRNA stability experiments indicated no acceleration in lipopolysaccharide-induced TNF-alpha mRNA degradation in response to IL-10. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that IL-10 is a potent inhibitor of TNF-alpha expression and release from alveolar macrophages and peripheral blood monocytes, and thus it may have an important role in the cytokine network of the pulmonary immune response.
Images
PMCID: PMC473022  PMID: 8711645

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