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Inflammation. 2003 Jun;27(3):137-45.

Alveolar epithelial cell-macrophage interactions affect oxygen-stimulated interleukin-8 release.

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Division of Neonatology, Strong Children's Research Center, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, USA.


Interactions of alveolar macrophages with respiratory epithelium may play a key role in hyperoxia-induced lung inflammation. We studied the effect of cell-cell contact with epithelial cells in hyperoxia on macrophages' secretion of interleukin-8 (IL-8). A549 pulmonary epithelial cells and THP-1 monocyte/macrophage cells were cultured either singly, in contact coculture, or prevented from contact by a porous membrane, and exposed to oxygen or room air. Phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate-(PMA)-treated THP-1 cells were exposed to the same conditions. Neither cell line cultured alone produced appreciable amounts of IL-8 in hyperoxia. Contact cocultures exposed to hyperoxia produced increased IL-8, while in the noncontact coculture it was attenuated. Both cell-cell contact and PMA increased THP-1 cell CD54 expression. Intracellular IL-8 production was increased in contact cocultured, hyperoxia exposed THP-1 cells, while the A549 sample showed no change. Increased IL-8 mRNA expression was not demonstrated in cocultured, hyperoxic exposed THP-1 cells, suggesting nontranscriptional regulation of IL-8 protein levels. Contact with epithelial cells appears to potentiate macrophage responses to hyperoxia.

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