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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2002 Mar;26(3):315-32.

Effect of IgA on respiratory burst and cytokine release by human alveolar macrophages: role of ERK1/2 mitogen-activated protein kinases and NF-kappaB.

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Experimental Medicine Unit, Christian de Duve Institute of Cellular Pathology, University of Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.


Human alveolar macrophages (HAM) express FcalphaR receptors for immunoglobulin (Ig)A which could link humoral and cellular branches of lung immunity. Here, we investigate the effects of polymeric (p-IgA) and secretory (S-IgA) IgA interaction with Fc(alpha)R on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)- and phorbol myristate acetate (PMA)-activated respiratory burst and TNF-alpha release by HAM. Activation of HAM with LPS and PMA increases the respiratory burst and TNF-alpha release through activation of the extracellular signal-related protein kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) pathway, because these effects are inhibited by treatment of HAM with PD98059, a selective inhibitor of mitogen-activated protein (MAP)/ERK kinases (MEK) pathway. S-IgA and p-IgA downregulate the LPS-increased respiratory burst in HAM through an inhibition of ERK1/2 activity. In contrast, p- and S-IgA induce an increase in the respiratory burst of PMA-treated HAM. This effect is associated with an upregulation by IgA of the PMA-induced phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and is also inhibited by PD98059. Moreover, p-IgA and S-IgA enhance TNF-alpha release by HAM through an alternative pathway distinct from ERK1/2. Because LPS is known to activate nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) in HAM, we evaluate the effect of IgA on NF-kappaB. Treatment of HAM with LPS, p- and S-IgA, but not PMA, induces NF-kappaB activation through IkappaBalpha phosphorylation and subsequent proteolysis. Antioxidants, namely N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and glutathione (GSH), have no effects on IgA-mediated NF-kappaB nuclear translocation and only a minor and late effect on that of LPS, suggesting that reactive oxygen intermediates (ROI) play a minor role in HAM activation through NF-kappaB. TNF-alpha release by LPS-activated HAM is sensitive to NF-kappaB inhibition and only partly to oxidant scavenging. In contrast, TNF-alpha release by IgA-treated HAM is not dependent on oxidants and only partly dependent on NF-kappaB. Our results show a differential HAM regulation by IgA through both dependent and independent modulation of ERK pathway. In addition, IgA activates NF-kappaB and this effect was independent on oxidants. These data may help to understand the role of IgA in both lung protection and inflammation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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