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Int J Mol Med. 2006 Nov;18(5):885-92.

Dual regulation of soluble tumor necrosis factor-alpha induced activation of human monocytic cells via modulating transmembrane TNF-alpha-mediated 'reverse signaling'.

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Department of Immunology, Tongji Medical College, Central China University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430030, PR China.


Transmembrane tumor necrosis factor-alpha (mTNF-alpha) is known to be the precursor of soluble TNF-alpha (sTNF-alpha). mTNF-alpha can act as a ligand on the TNF receptor- (TNFR)- bearing cell through 'forward signaling' or as a receptor on the TNF producing cell through 'reverse signaling'. In the current study, we investigated the role of mTNF-alpha-mediated reverse signaling in regulating sTNF-alpha-induced activation of human monocytic U937 cells. We demonstrated that pretreatment with sTNFRI, for inducing reverse signaling through mTNF-alpha, sensitized U937 cells to sTNF-alpha stimulation, as evidenced by an increase in reactive oxygen production and mRNA levels of proinflammatory cytokines (TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, and IL-8) in these cells. Further experiments revealed that IkappaB-alpha degradation was increased in the monocytic cells primed with sTNFRI, implying that reverse signaling of mTNF-alpha sensitizes U937 cells via an NF-kappaB-dependent mechanism. On the other hand, binding of sTNFRI to mTNF-alpha after sTNF-alpha-induced activation of U937 cells reduced mRNA stability (half-life) of IL-1beta and IL-8. The involvement of reverse signaling in the process was verified by using a mutated form of mTNF-alpha lacking the majority of the cytoplasmic domain. Our results clearly showed that enhanced mRNA degradation of the cytokines occurred only in U937 cells transfected with a wild-type mTNF-alpha, but not in those cells transfected with the mutant mTNF-alpha. Taken together, these data suggest that reverse signaling through mTNF-alpha may exert a double role in modulating sTNF-alpha bioactivity. It is positive when reverse signaling occurs prior to sTNF-alpha stimulation, while it is negative when reverse signaling occurs after the sTNF-alpha signal. Thus, our findings strengthen a role of mTNF-alpha-mediated reverse signaling in the regulation of immune-inflammatory response and control of inflammatory reaction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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