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Biochem J. 2001 Jan 15;353(Pt 2):299-306.

Resistance of bone marrow-derived macrophages to apoptosis is associated with the expression of X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein in primary cultures of bone marrow cells.

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Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, and Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institutes, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI 48201, U.S.A.


In this study we investigated the underlying mechanisms that confer resistance on mature macrophages with the use of macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF)-induced bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM). In the presence of M-CSF, immature precursor cells were induced to undergo proliferation and differentiation into mature macrophages in vitro with cell morphology similar to that of tissue macrophages by day 7-10. Immunoblot analyses showed that bone marrow precursors express appreciable levels of caspase-3 and caspase-9 but no or very low levels of c-fms (M-CSF receptor) and the apoptosis regulators X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP), c-IAP-1, Bcl-2 and Bax. The differentiation of BMDM is associated with a steady and gradual increase in the levels of c-fms, XIAP, c-IAP-1, Bcl-2 and Bax, reaching maximal levels by day 7. However, the levels of caspase-3 and caspase-9 stayed essentially unchanged even after prolonged incubation (more than 10 days) with M-CSF. Unlike bone marrow precursor cells, mature BMDM (day 7-10) were resistant to apoptosis induced by M-CSF depletion, which includes the activation of caspase-3 and caspase-9 and the degradation of XIAP, Bcl-2 and Bax proteins in the process. Treatment of day 7 BMDM with XIAP anti-sense oligonucleotides (oligos), but not sense oligos, partly abolished their resistance to apoptosis. By using a gel-shift assay and a specific nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) inhibitor, we demonstrated that NF-kappaB activity is responsible for the up-regulation of XIAP in M-CSF-treated macrophages. In addition, treatment of starved macrophages with M-CSF induced a rapid phosphorylation of Akt kinase before the activation of NF-kappaB. Our results showed that XIAP is one of the anti-apoptotic regulators that confer resistance on mature macrophages by M-CSF.

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