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Int J Oncol. 2003 Feb;22(2):439-48.

IL-11-induced reduction of C/EBP transcription factor binding may contribute to the IL-12 downregulation in tumor-bearing mice.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, FL 33136, USA.


Using a mammary tumor model syngeneic to BALB/c mice, we have characterized several tumor-derived factors. We now report that the DA-3 cell line derived from this tumor, as well as the in vivo tumor itself, express IL-11. The expression of IL-11 in the tumor is detectable at the transcriptional and translational levels, as evidenced by RT-PCR and Western blots. Using a murine IL-11 ELISA, we observed no differences in IL-11 production between normal and tumor-bearer's macrophages or T cells, with or without activation. Interestingly, elevated levels of IL-11 were found in the sera of tumor-bearers, when compared to normal animals and even higher levels of IL-11 were detected in the tumor cystic fluid. Macrophages from mice bearing large mammary tumors show an impaired production of IL-12 and NO, whereas T cells from the same animals display a deficient production of IFN-gamma. Pretreatment of normal macrophages with IL-11 resulted in no decrease in NO production, nor an impaired production of IFN-gamma was observed in normal T cells upon pretreatment with IL-11. However, pretreatment of normal macrophages with IL-11 resulted in a decreased production of IL-12, as revealed by ELISA and RT-PCR. Electromobility shift assays showed decreased binding of the transcription factor C/EBP to the IL-12p40 promoter of LPS-activated macrophages from normal animals, upon pretreatment with IL-11. In contrast, no differences were observed in the levels of NFkappaB binding under the same experimental conditions. Our results suggest that tumor-derived IL-11 may play a role in the depressed IL-12 production by macrophages, leading to the impaired immune functions observed during mammary tumorigenesis.

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