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Blood. 2003 Jan 15;101(2):729-38. Epub 2002 Sep 12.

Synthesis of glucocorticoid-induced leucine zipper (GILZ) by macrophages: an anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive mechanism shared by glucocorticoids and IL-10.

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  • 1Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) U131, Institut Paris-Sud sur les Cytokines, Clamart, France.


Glucocorticoids and interleukin 10 (IL-10) prevent macrophage activation. In murine lymphocytes, glucocorticoids induce expression of glucocorticoid-induced leucine zipper (GILZ), which prevents the nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB)-mediated activation of transcription. We investigated whether GILZ could account for the deactivation of macrophages by glucocorticoids and IL-10. We found that GILZ was constitutively produced by macrophages in nonlymphoid tissues of humans and mice. Glucocorticoids and IL-10 stimulated the production of GILZ by macrophages both in vitro and in vivo. Transfection of the macrophagelike cell line THP-1 with the GILZ gene inhibited the expression of CD80 and CD86 and the production of the proinflammatory chemokines regulated on activation normal T-cell expressed and secreted (CCL5) and macrophage inflammatory protein 1alpha (CCL3). It also prevented toll-like receptor 2 production induced by lipopolysaccharide, interferongamma, or an anti-CD40 mAb, as well as NF-kappaB function. In THP-1 cells treated with glucocorticoids or IL-10, GILZ was associated with the p65 subunit of NF-kappaB. Activated macrophages in the granulomas of patients with Crohn disease or tuberculosis do not produce GILZ. In contrast, GILZ production persists in tumor-infiltrating macrophages in Burkitt lymphomas. Therefore, GILZ appears to play a key role in the anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive effects of glucocorticoids and IL-10. Glucocorticoid treatment stimulates GILZ production, reproducing an effect of IL-10, a natural anti-inflammatory agent. The development of delayed-type hypersensitivity reactions is associated with the down-regulation of GILZ gene expression within lesions. In contrast, the persistence of GILZ gene expression in macrophages infiltrating Burkitt lymphomas may contribute to the failure of the immune system to reject the tumor.

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