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1.  The Retinoic Acid Receptor-α mediates human T-cell activation and Th2 cytokine and chemokine production 
BMC Immunology  2008;9:16.
Background
We have recently demonstrated that all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) and 9-cis-retinoic acid (9-cis RA) promote IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13 synthesis, while decreasing IFN-γ and TNF-α expression by activated human T cells and reduces the synthesis of IL-12p70 from accessory cells. Here, we have demonstrated that the observed effects using ATRA and 9-cis RA are shared with the clinically useful RAR ligand, 13-cis retinoic acid (13-cis RA), and the retinoic acid receptor-α (RAR-α)-selective agonist, AM580 but not with the RAR-β/γ ligand, 4-hydroxyphenylretinamide (4-HPR).
Results
The increase in type 2 cytokine production by these retinoids correlated with the expression of the T cell activation markers, CD69 and CD38. The RAR-α-selective agonist, AM580 recapitulated all of the T cell activation and type 2 cytokine-inducing effects of ATRA and 9-cis-RA, while the RAR-α-selective antagonist, RO 41–5253, inhibited these effects.
Conclusion
These results strongly support a role for RAR-α engagement in the regulation of genes and proteins involved with human T cell activation and type 2 cytokine production.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-9-16
PMCID: PMC2394516  PMID: 18416830
2.  Direct and indirect effects of retinoic acid on human Th2 cytokine and chemokine expression by human T lymphocytes 
BMC Immunology  2006;7:27.
Background
Vitamin A (VA) deficiency induces a type 1 cytokine response and exogenously provided retinoids can induce a type 2 cytokine response both in vitro and in vivo. The precise mechanism(s) involved in this phenotypic switch are inconsistent and have been poorly characterized in humans. In an effort to determine if retinoids are capable of inducing Th2 cytokine responses in human T cell cultures, we stimulated human PBMCs with immobilized anti-CD3 mAb in the presence or absence of all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) or 9-cis-RA.
Results
Stimulation of human PBMCs and purified T cells with ATRA and 9-cis-RA increased mRNA and protein levels of IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13 and decreased levels of IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-12p70 and TNF-α upon activation with anti-CD3 and/or anti-CD28 mAbs. These effects were dose-dependent and evident as early as 12 hr post stimulation. Real time RT-PCR analysis revealed a dampened expression of the Th1-associated gene, T-bet, and a time-dependent increase in the mRNA for the Th2-associated genes, GATA-3, c-MAF and STAT6, upon treatment with ATRA. Besides Th1 and Th2 cytokines, a number of additional proinflammatory and regulatory cytokines including several chemokines were also differentially regulated by ATRA treatment.
Conclusion
These data provide strong evidence for multiple inductive roles for retinoids in the development of human type-2 cytokine responses.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-7-27
PMCID: PMC1665462  PMID: 17118196

Results 1-2 (2)