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J Leukoc Biol. 2003 Nov;74(5):857-67.

Immature macrophages derived from mouse bone marrow produce large amounts of IL-12p40 after LPS stimulation.

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  • 1Departmento de Immunologia, Universidade de São Paulo, SP, Brasil.

Erratum in

  • J Leukoc Biol. 2003 Dec;74(6):2a.


Production of IL-12 is an important indicator of the macrophage's ability to regulate immune responses. In this study, we investigated the IL-12 production by macrophages in different developmental stages. To this end, macrophages were generated in vitro from precursors stimulated with M-CSF, GM-CSF or IL-3. Density separation yielded populations enriched in different maturation stages. Invariably, only cells banding at the 40-50% Percoll interface produced large amounts of IL-12p40 when stimulated with LPS, whereas only low levels of IL-12p70 were produced. These cells represented immature macrophages, as indicated by the absence of precursor markers CD31/ER-MP12, Ly-6C/ER-MP20 and ER-MP58, and by the low level of expression of mature-cell markers like ER-HR3, scavenger receptor and CD11b/Mac-1. Upon further maturation, the macrophages' ability to produce IL-12p40 decreased, coinciding with increased nitric oxide production upon LPS stimulation. These results show that immature macrophages produce high levels of IL-12p40 and thus may either contribute to IL-12p70 production or regulate it.

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