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Biochem Pharmacol. 2004 Mar 1;67(5):937-45.

Induction of tumour necrosis factor and interferon-gamma in cultured murine splenocytes by the antivascular agent DMXAA and its metabolites.

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Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.


The induction of haemorrhagic necrosis by 5,6-dimethylxanthenone-4-acetic acid (DMXAA) in transplantable murine tumours depends on the in situ synthesis of cytokines, particularly tumour necrosis factor (TNF). Since the in vivo action of DMXAA would be greatly clarified by the development of an in vitro model, we investigated whether DMXAA could induce cytokines in cultured murine splenocytes. DMXAA alone induced low amounts of TNF with an optimal concentration of 10 microg/mL and an optimal time of 4 hr. When combined with low concentrations of lipopolysaccharide, deactivated-lipopolysaccharide (dLPS) or phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate that did not elicit TNF production alone, synergistic TNF production was obtained. DMXAA also induced interferon-gamma at an optimal dose of 300 microg/mL, but the addition of dLPS had no further effect. Decreasing culture pH, although not changing the optimal concentrations for stimulation, increased both TNF and interferon-gamma production in response to DMXAA. The major DMXAA metabolites, DMXAA-glucuronide and 6-hydroxy-5-methylxanthenone-4-acetic acid, did not induce either cytokine alone, in combination with dLPS or at low pH. The results indicate that DMXAA rather than a metabolite is responsible for cytokine induction and suggest that the microenvironment of the tumour may be responsible for the observed selective induction of cytokines in tumour tissue.

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