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J Immunol. 1999 Nov 15;163(10):5624-32.

Differential regulation of epithelial-derived C-C chemokine expression by IL-4 and the glucocorticoid budesonide.

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Division of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, Johns Hopkins Asthma and Allergy Center, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.


Airway epithelial cells are a rich source of eosinophil-selective C-C chemokines. We investigated whether cytokines and the topical glucocorticoid budesonide differentially regulate RANTES, monocyte chemoattractant protein-4 (MCP-4), and eotaxin mRNA and protein expression in the human bronchial epithelial cell line BEAS-2B and in primary human bronchial epithelial cells by Northern blot analysis and ELISAs. Eotaxin and MCP-4 mRNA expression induced by TNF-alpha alone or in combination with IFN-gamma was near-maximal after 1 h, peaked at 4 and 8 h, respectively, remained unchanged up to 24 h, and was protein synthesis independent. In contrast, RANTES mRNA was detectable only after 2 h and slowly increased to a peak at 24 h, and was protein synthesis dependent. Induction of eotaxin and MCP-4 mRNA showed a 10- to 100-fold greater sensitivity to TNF-alpha compared with RANTES mRNA. IL-4 and IFN-gamma had selective effects on chemokine expression; IL-4 selectively up-regulated the expression of eotaxin and MCP-4 and potentiated TNF-alpha-induced eotaxin, while IFN-gamma markedly potentiated only the TNF-alpha-induced expression of RANTES. Although budesonide inhibited the expression of chemokine mRNA to a variable extent, it effectively inhibited production of eotaxin and RANTES protein. Budesonide inhibited both RANTES- and eotaxin promoter-driven reporter gene activity. Budesonide also selectively accelerated the decay of eotaxin and MCP-4 mRNA. These results point to IL-4 as a possible mediator by which Th2 cells may induce selective production of C-C chemokines from epithelium and indicate that glucocorticoid inhibit chemokine expression through multiple mechanisms of action.

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