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Blood. 2005 Nov 15;106(10):3474-82. Epub 2005 Jul 21.

Neutrophil stimulation with Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) results in the release of functional soluble TRAIL/Apo-2L.

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Department of Urology, Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Immunolgy, University of Iowa, Iowa City, 52242, USA.


Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) has been used to treat bladder cancer for almost 30 years; however, the effector mechanism of the BCG-induced antitumor response remains enigmatic. Most BCG research has focused on the mononuclear-cell infiltrate, but growing evidence supports a role for neutrophils in the antitumor response. Previously, we demonstrated increased urinary tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL/Apo-2L) levels from BCG-responsive patients compared to nonresponders. Interestingly, neutrophils isolated from the urine expressed TRAIL/Apo-2L, leading us to investigate the neutrophil response to BCG. BCG-stimulated neutrophils expressed surface-bound and released functional soluble TRAIL/Apo-2L. Whereas neither interferon alpha (IFN-alpha) nor IFN-gamma directly induced TRAIL/Apo2L expression by neutrophils, IFN-alpha did stimulate TRAIL gene transcription, and IFN-primed neutrophils contained and released more TRAIL/Apo-2L after BCG stimulation than did unprimed neutrophils. In unstimulated neutrophils TRAIL/Apo-2L was present predominantly in the azurophilic granules and plasma-membrane-enriched/secretory-granule fraction. Finally, we observed that killed BCG, Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) and TLR4 agonists, and an M tuberculosis cell-wall fraction were each capable of inducing the release of soluble TRAIL/Apo-2L from neutrophils. These results further characterize the potential role neutrophils may play in initiating the antitumor response described with BCG treatment for superficial bladder cancer.

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