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Br J Pharmacol. 2006 May;148(2):208-15.

Regulation of IL-1-induced selective IL-6 release from human mast cells and inhibition by quercetin.

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Department of Biochemistry, Tufts University School of Medicine and Tufts - New England Medical Center, Harrison avenue, Boston, MA, USA.


Mast cells are involved in allergic reactions, but also in innate immunity and inflammation. Crosslinkage of mast cell Fc immunoglobulin E receptors (FcvarepsilonRI) by multivalent antigen triggers secretion of granule-stored mediators, as well as de novo synthesis of cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-6. We showed recently that the proinflammatory cytokine IL-1 stimulates human leukemic mast cells (HMC-1) and human umbilical cord blood-derived cultured mast cells (hCBMCs) to release newly synthesized IL-6 without tryptase in the absence of degranulation. Here, we investigated several signal-transduction pathways activated by IL-1 leading to IL-6 production by HMC-1 and hCBMCs. We also investigated the effect of the flavonol quercetin that was recently shown to strongly inhibit IL-6 secretion in response to allergic stimulation from hCBMCs.IL-1 stimulated p38, but did not activate extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) or c-jun N-terminal kinase (JNK); it also did not activate protein kinase C (PKC) isozymes alpha, beta, mu and zeta, except for PKC-theta, which was phosphorylated. The p38 inhibitor SB203580 and the PKC inhibitors Calphostin C and Gö6976 completely inhibited IL-1-induced IL-6 production. Quercetin 1-100 microM inhibited IL-1-induced IL-6 secretion, p38 and PKC-theta phosphorylation in a dose-dependent manner. These results indicate that IL-1-stimulated IL-6 production from human mast cells is regulated by biochemical pathways distinct from IgE-induced degranulation and that quercetin can block both IL-6 secretion and two key signal transduction steps involved.

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