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PLoS One. 2013;8(4):e59778. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059778. Epub 2013 Apr 5.

Autocrine regulation of macrophage activation via exocytosis of ATP and activation of P2Y11 receptor.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Biosciences, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Tokyo University of Science, Noda-shi Chiba, Japan.


It is important to understand the mechanisms that regulate macrophage activation to establish novel therapies for inflammatory diseases, such as sepsis; a systemic inflammatory response syndrome generally caused by bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS). In this study, we investigated the involvement of extracellular ATP-mediated autocrine signaling in LPS-induced macrophage activation. We show here that ATP release via exocytosis, followed by activation of P2Y11 receptor, is a major pathway of the macrophage activation, leading to release of cytokines. Treatment of human monocyte THP-1 cells with LPS induced rapid ATP release from cells, and this release was blocked by knockdown of SLC17A9 (vesicular nucleotide transporter, VNUT), which is responsible for exocytosis of ATP. ATP-enriched vesicles were found in cytosol of THP-1 cells. These data suggest the involvement of vesicular exocytosis in the release of ATP. Knockdown of SLC17A9, the P2Y11 antagonist NF157 or knockdown of P2Y11 receptor significantly suppressed both M1-type polarization and IL-6 production in THP-1 cells, indicating an important role of activation of P2Y11 receptor by released ATP in macrophage activation. Next, the effect of NF157 on LPS-induced immune activation was examined in vivo. Administration of LPS to mice caused increase of serum IL-1ß, IL-6, IL-12 and TNF-alpha levels at 3-24 h after the administration. Pre-treatment of LPS-treated mice with NF157 suppressed both elevation of proinflammatory cytokines in serum and M1 polarization of peritoneal/spleen macrophages. Moreover, post-treatment with NF157 at 30 min after administration of LPS also suppressed the elevation of serum cytokines levels. We conclude that vesicular exocytosis of ATP and autocrine, positive feedback through P2Y11 receptors is required for the effective activation of macrophages. Consequently, P2Y11 receptor antagonists may be drug candidates for treatment of inflammatory diseases such as sepsis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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