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J Immunol. 2003 Aug 1;171(3):1456-65.

Inhibition of a p38/stress-activated protein kinase-2-dependent phosphatase restores function of IL-1 receptor-associate kinase-1 and reverses Toll-like receptor 2- and 4-dependent tolerance of macrophages.

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  • 1Centro de Pesquisas René Rachou, Fundaçao Oswaldo Cruz, Brazil.


Pretreatment of macrophages with Toll-like receptor (TLR)2 or TLR4 agonists leads to a stage of cell hyporesponsiveness to a second stimulation with TLR agonists. This tolerance state is accompanied by the repression of IL-1 receptor-associated kinase-1, mitogen-activated protein kinases, and IkappaB phosphorylation and expression of genes encoding proinflammatory cytokines, like IL-1beta and TNF-alpha. In this report, we demonstrated that mucin-like glycoprotein (tGPI-mucin) of Trypanosoma cruzi trypomastigotes (TLR2 agonist) and LPS (TLR4 agonist) induce cross-tolerance in macrophages and we addressed the role of phosphatase activity in this process. Analysis of the kinetic of phosphatase activity induced by tGPI-mucin or LPS revealed maximum levels between 12 and 24 h, which correlate with the macrophage hyporesponsiveness stage. The addition of okadaic acid, an inhibitor of phosphatase activity, reversed macrophage hyporesponsiveness after exposure to either LPS or tGPI-mucin, allowing phosphorylation of IL-1R-associated kinase-1, mitogen-activated protein kinases, and IkappaB and leading to TNF-alpha gene transcription and cytokine production. Furthermore, pretreatment with either the specific p38/stress-activated protein kinase-2 inhibitor (SB203580) or the NF-kappaB translocation inhibitor (SN50) prevented the induction of phosphatase activity and hyporesponsiveness in macrophage, permitting cytokine production after restimulation with LPS. These results indicate a critical role of p38/stress-activated protein kinase-2 and NF-kappaB-dependent phosphatase in macrophage hyporesponsiveness induced by microbial products that activate TLR2 and TLR4.

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