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Eur J Immunol. 2002 Dec;32(12):3515-24.

CCL20/macrophage inflammatory protein-3alpha production in LPS-stimulated neutrophils is enhanced by the chemoattractant formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine and IFN-gamma through independent mechanisms.

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Department of Pathology, Section of General Pathology, University of Verona, Verona, Italy.


We have recently demonstrated that polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN), when cultured with LPS or TNF-alpha, have the capacity to release CCL20, a chemokine primarily chemotactic for immature dendritic cells and specific lymphocyte subsets. Here, we report that the chemoattractant formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine (fMLP), as well as the immunoregulatory cytokine IFN-gamma, can significantly up-modulate the production of neutrophil-derived CCL20 through entirely unrelated mechanisms. We found that fMLP dramatically up-regulates CCL20 mRNA expression and synthesis in neutrophils stimulated with LPS for 2-3 h, and that its effect takes place through CCL20 mRNA stabilization. In contrast, IFN-gamma potentiates CCL20 gene expression and production only after 21 h of LPS treatment, its effect being mediated by endogenous TNF-alpha in an autocrine fashion, as revealed using neutralizing anti-TNF-alpha antibodies added to IFN-gamma plus LPS-treated PMN. Finally, we demonstrate that activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) plays an important role in mediating the production of CCL20 induced by LPS (with or without IFN-gamma), whereas activation of p42/44 extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK) is involved in the enhancing effect of fMLP. Taken together, these findings identify novel biological actions exerted by fMLP and IFN-gamma, potentially involved in the orchestration of inflammatory and immune responses within epithelial and mucosal tissue.

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