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Cell Tissue Res. 1999 Sep;297(3):467-73.

Intracellular production of interleukin-18 in human epithelial-like cell lines is enhanced by hyperosmotic stress in vitro.

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  • 1Fujisaki Institute, Hayashibara Biochemical Laboratories, 675-1, Fujisaki, Okayama 702-8006, Japan. fujisaki@hayashibara.co.jp


Interleukin-18 is a novel multifunctional cytokine, which enhances natural killer cell activity and promotes the induction of cytokine production, including that of interferon-gamma by T cells and antitumor effects. Interleukin-18 is produced by cells of several different tissues (e.g., macrophages, keratinocytes, osteoblasts, and intestinal epithelium); however, it is unclear what physiological conditions or stimuli induce interleukin-18 production. To determine physiological conditions for the production of interleukin-18, we have examined the effect of mannitol-induced hyperosmotic conditions on normal human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) and eight established human epithelial-like cell lines (Intestine 407, Caco-2, A253, HeLa, SCC25, HT1197, ACHN, A549). Hyperosmotic conditions induced interleukin-18 immunoreactivity in all the human cell lines tested, as detected by immunocytochemistry. The enhanced interleukin-18 production was also observed when mannitol was replaced with NaCl as the inducer of hyperosmotic stress. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays revealed that interleukin-18 concentrations in cell extracts were significantly increased by hyperosmotic conditions. Reporter gene assays also revealed that hyperosmotic conditions stimulated transcriptional activity of the interleukin-18 promoter. These results show for the first time that hyperosmotic stress is a stimulator of interleukin-18 production in epithelial-like cells.

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