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Am J Pathol. 2002 Feb;160(2):621-30.

Beta1 and beta2 integrins mediate adhesion during macrophage fusion and multinucleated foreign body giant cell formation.

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Institute of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA.


An in vitro system of interleukin (IL)-4-induced human monocyte-derived macrophage fusion was used to investigate the cell/substrate adhesive mechanisms that support multinucleated foreign body giant cell (FBGC) formation. Monocytes were cultured for 3 days and IL-4 was added to induce macrophage fusion and FBGC formation by day 7. Functionally defined anti-integrin antibodies demonstrated that initial monocyte adhesion is mediated by beta2 integrins, whereas during the induction of macrophage fusion by IL-4, an additional dependence on beta1 integrins is acquired. The combination of anti-beta1 plus anti-beta2 was most effective, reducing macrophage/FBGC adhesion to 10% of controls. Consistent with integrin-mediated signaling, the tyrosine kinase inhibitor genistein and the phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase inhibitors wortmannin and LY294002 also attenuated macrophage/FBGC adhesion. Confocal microscopic analysis revealed that beta2 integrins are present on monocytes after initial adhesion and are strongly expressed on fusing macrophages, particularly in peripheral cell areas, and on FBGCs. In contrast, beta1 integrins are not detected on monocytes but begin to appear during macrophage development and are strongly expressed on fusing macrophages and FBGCs. For the first time, these results demonstrate the IL-4-induced acquisition of cooperation between beta1 and beta2 integrins in the cell/substrate adhesive interactions that are required for multinucleated FBGC formation.

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