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Eur J Immunol. 2004 Aug;34(8):2257-67.

Macrophage colony-stimulating factor-, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor-, or IL-3-dependent survival of macrophages, but not proliferation, requires the expression of p21(Waf1) through the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt pathway.

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Group of Macrophage Biology, Biomedical Research Institute of Barcelona, Barcelona Science Park, University of Barcelona, E-08028 Barcelona, Spain.

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  • Eur J Immunol. 2005 Feb;35(2):666.


Mouse bone marrow-derived macrophages proliferate in the presence of macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF), granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, or IL-3, but undergo apoptosis in their absence. Inhibition of extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK)-1/2 blocks growth factor-dependent proliferation but not survival, indicating that the two processes require independent signaling pathways. Although M-CSF induces the activation of other kinase pathways, such as c-Jun N-terminal kinase, p38, and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI-3K), these pathways are not required for proliferation. However, PI-3K is the only one necessary for the induction of survival, as demonstrated using the inhibitors LY294002 and Wortmannin. Growth factors also activate Akt kinase and a transient expression of the cdk inhibitor p21(Waf1), which inhibits apoptosis but is not required for proliferation. PI-3K inhibitors also block growth factor-dependent expression of p21(Waf1) and the activation of Akt. Moreover, the survival induced by cyclosporin A or decorin is also dependent on the PI-3K/Akt kinases and p21(Waf1). These findings demonstrate that the induction of p21(Waf1) through the PI-3K/Akt pathway is a general survival response of macrophages. Our results show that growth factors in macrophages use two pathways: one for proliferation, mediated by ERK, and the other for survival, which requires the PI-3K/Akt kinases and p21(Waf1).

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