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J Lab Clin Med. 1999 Mar;133(3):274-88.

Urokinase is required for T lymphocyte proliferation and activation in vitro.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs Medical Center and University of Michigan Medical Center, USA.


We have previously demonstrated that urokinase-deficient (uPA-/-) mice do not increase lung T lymphocyte number and fail to mount protective immune responses during pulmonary Cryptococcus neoformans infection. These observations suggest a previously unconsidered role for urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) in T lymphocyte-mediated immune responses. Accordingly, we sought to determine whether uPA is required for T cell receptor-mediated (TCR-mediated) lymphocyte proliferation and activation. Splenocytes from uPA-/- and uPA+/+ mice were stimulated with concanavalin A (Con A). The uPA-/- mice had diminished T cell proliferation as compared with uPA+/+ mice. Coculturing uPA-/- T cells with uPA+/+ accessory cells led to the restoration of proliferation. Similarly, T cell proliferation induced by CD3 cross-linking was diminished in uPA-/- mice as compared with uPA+/+ mice. T lymphocyte activation, defined as the induced expression of antigens and the elaboration of cytokines, was determined. The expression of CD69 and that of CD49d were diminished in response to Con A stimulation in uPA-/- mice as compared with uPA+/+ mice. The elaboration of cytokines in response to Con A was also altered in the uPA-/- mice. The production of the Th1 cytokines interferon-gamma and interleukin-12 was diminished in uPA-/- mice as compared with uPA+/+ mice. The uPA-/- mice produced increased amounts of interleukin-10, a Th2 cytokine. We conclude that the lack of uPA results in impaired T cell activation and proliferation in response to TCR-mediated signaling and the expression of a less Th1-polarized profile of cytokines. These findings suggest that the inability of uPA-/- mice to combat Cryptococcus neoformans infection may be caused by the impairment of T lymphocyte immune responses in the absence of uPA.

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