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J Immunol. 2006 Sep 1;177(5):3337-43.

The role of IFN-alpha and nitric oxide in the release of HMGB1 by RAW 264.7 cells stimulated with polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid or lipopolysaccharide.

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  • 1Division of Rheumatology and Immunology, Department of Medicine, Duke University, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


High mobility group protein 1 (HMGB1) is a nonhistone nuclear protein with a dual function. Inside the cell, HMGB1 binds to DNA and modulates a variety of processes, including transcription. Outside the cell, HMGB1 displays cytokine activity and can promote inflammation, serving as a mediator in models of shock and arthritis. In in vitro studies, proinflammatory molecules such as LPS, lipoteichoic acid, dsRNA, TNF-alpha, and IFN-gamma can induce HMGB1 release from macrophages. To define further the release process, we investigated the role of the downstream mediators, NO and IFN-alpha, in the release of HMGB1 from RAW 264.7 macrophage cells stimulated with LPS or polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (poly(I:C)). In these experiments, 1400W, an inhibitor of NO production by the inducible NO synthase, reduced HMGB1 release stimulated by LPS, but not poly(I:C), whereas neutralizing IFN-alpha prevented HMGB1 release induced by poly(I:C), but not LPS. The addition of an NO donor and rIFN-alpha to RAW 264.7 cells caused HMGB1 release. Furthermore, inhibition of JNK activation attenuated HMGB1 release induced by either LPS or poly(I:C). Analysis of bone marrow-derived macrophages stimulated by LPS or poly(I:C) showed patterns of HMGB1 release similar to those of RAW 264.7 cells. Together, these experiments indicate that, although both LPS and poly(I:C) induce HMGB1 release from RAW 264.7 cells and murine macrophages, the response is differentially dependent on NO and IFN-alpha.

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