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Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2001 Mar;280(3):L493-502.

Proinflammatory cytokine responses to P. aeruginosa infection in human airway epithelial cell lines.

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Department of Pediatrics, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA.


A tendency toward excessive inflammation in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients often accompanies lung infections with Pseudomonas aeruginosa. We tested the cytokine response to P. aeruginosa in two pairs of human airway epithelial cell lines matched except for CF transmembrane conductance regulator activity. The 9/HTEo(-) CF-phenotypic cell line produced significantly more interleukin (IL)-8, IL-6, and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor but not regulated on activation normal T cell expressed and secreted (RANTES) in response to Pseudomonas than the 9/HTEo(-) control line, and the differences widened over time. Similarly, a 16HBE cell line lacking transmembrane conductance regulator activity showed enhanced IL-8 and IL-6 responses compared with the control cell line. The pharmacology of the cytokine response also differed because dexamethasone reduced cytokine production to similar levels in the matched cell lines. The protracted proinflammatory cytokine response of the CF-phenotypic cell lines suggests that the limiting mechanisms of normal cells are absent or attenuated. These results are consistent with in vivo observations in patients with CF and suggest that our novel cell lines may be useful for further investigation of the proinflammatory responses in CF airways.

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