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Jpn J Cancer Res. 1985 May;76(5):345-51.

Induction of functional differentiation of a human monocytic leukemia cell line (THP-1) by retinoic acid and cholera toxin.


The human monocytic leukemia cell line, THP-1, is induced to differentiate into more functionally mature monocyte (macrophage)-like cells by incubation with retinoic acid at concentrations of 10nM or higher. There is no apparent morphological change accompanying this functional maturation. These induced cells show increases in nitroblue tetrazolium reduction, immunoerythrophagocytosis, hexose monophosphate shunt activity, and 5'-nucleotidase and NAD+-glycohydrolase activities. Prostaglandin E2, dibutyryl cyclic adenosine 3':5'-monophosphate, or T-lymphocyte-derived differentiation-inducing activity, all inactive or less active alone, increase the extent of differentiation of THP-1 in combination with 10nM retinoic acid. THP-1 is also induced to differentiate by 0.1nM or higher concentrations of cholera toxin. Furthermore, 24,24-difluoro-1 alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 induces less differentiation of THP-1 compared to retinoic acid. Dimethyl sulfoxide and 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate show no induction of functional differentiation. THP-1 thus joins the list of leukemic myelomonocytic cell lines (e.g., the promyelocytic HL-60 and the monoblast-like U-937) that are blocked at a relatively late stage of maturation and which differentiate in response to retinoic acid.

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