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J Immunol. 2003 Dec 15;171(12):6780-7.

Hyaluronic acid or TNF-alpha plus fibronectin triggers granulocyte macrophage-colony-stimulating factor mRNA stabilization in eosinophils yet engages differential intracellular pathways and mRNA binding proteins.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison, WI 53792, USA.


Eosinophils (Eos) accumulate in airways and lung parenchyma of active asthmatics. GM-CSF is a potent inhibitor of Eos apoptosis both in vitro and in vivo and is produced by activated fibroblasts, mast cells, T lymphocytes as well as Eos. Cytokine release by Eos is preceded by GM-CSF mRNA stabilization induced by TNF-alpha plus fibronectin. Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a major extracellular matrix proteoglycan, which also accumulates in the lung during asthma exacerbations. In this study we have analyzed the effects of HA on Eos survival and GM-CSF expression. We demonstrate that like TNF-alpha plus fibronectin, HA stabilizes GM-CSF mRNA, increases GM-CSF secretion, and prolongs in vitro Eos survival. GM-CSF mRNA stabilization accounts for most of the observed GM-CSF mRNA accumulation and protein production. Unlike TNF-alpha plus fibronectin, GM-CSF mRNA stabilization induction by HA requires continuous extracellular signal-regulated kinase phosphorylation. Finally, to identify potential protein regulators responsible for GM-CSF mRNA stabilization, immunoprecipitation-RT-PCR studies revealed increased GM-CSF mRNA associated with YB-1, HuR, and heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) C after TNF-alpha plus fibronectin but only hnRNP C after HA. Thus, our data suggest that both TNF-alpha plus fibronectin and HA, which are relevant physiological effectors in asthma, contributes to long-term Eos survival in vivo by enhancing GM-CSF production through two different posttranscriptional regulatory pathways involving extracellular signal-regulated kinase phosphorylation and RNA binding proteins YB-1, HuR, and hnRNP C.

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