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Cell Immunol. 1991 Apr 15;134(1):241-8.

Regulation of macrophage activation markers by IL-4 and IFN-gamma is subpopulation-specific.

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Department of Pathology, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02111.


We have addressed the differential regulatory properties that IFN-gamma and IL-4 exert on macrophage (M phi) subpopulations. For this purpose, Thyoglicolate-, Peptone-, and Con A-elicited M phi, as well as bone marrow-derived M phi and P388D1 cells, were cultured in the presence of either IFN-gamma or IL-4. The expression of LFA-1, Mac-1, and Mac-2 after this treatment was studied by FACS analysis. We have found that these surface molecules are differentially modulated by the two lymphokines, depending on the M phi subpopulation studied. Mac-1 is upregulated only in Thyoglicolate-elicited cells after treatment with IFN-gamma, while no change in the expression of Mac-2 was observed in any of the groups. LFA-1 is upregulated by IFN-gamma in Thyoglicolate- and bone marrow-derived M phi and P388D1 cells, while IL-4 does not induce LFA-1 on these cells. Interestingly, however, we have observed the reverse situation on Con A-elicited M phi, where a strong induction of LFA-1 is achieved by treatment of the cells with IL-4, while IFN-gamma does not modify the expression of this antigen. Our results obtained with the lymphokine-stimulated M phi are interpreted in the context of functionally induced M phi subpopulations, which might be regulated by either Th1 or Th2 CD4+ T cells. Thyoglicolate-elicited M phi may represent the in vitro equivalent of a M phi subpopulation regulated in vivo by Th1 cells while Con A-elicited M phi could be the equivalent of a subpopulation regulated by Th2 cells.

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