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Shock. 2012 May;37(5):511-7. doi: 10.1097/SHK.0b013e318249cfa2.

Splenocyte apoptosis and autophagy is mediated by interferon regulatory factor 1 during murine endotoxemia.

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Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.


Sepsis-induced lymphocyte and dendritic cell apoptosis contributes to immunosuppression, which results in an inability to eradicate the primary infection as well as a propensity to acquire new, secondary infections. Another cellular process, autophagy, is also activated in immune cells and plays a protective role. In the present study, we demonstrate that interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF-1) regulates both immune cell apoptosis and autophagy in a murine endotoxemia model. Interferon regulatory factor 1 is activated at an early phase through a Toll-like receptor 4-dependent, myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88-independent manner in splenocytes. Furthermore, IRF-1 knockout (KO) mice are protected from a lethal endotoxemia model. This protection is associated with decreased apoptosis and increased autophagy in splenocytes. Interferon regulatory factor 1 KO mice experience decreased apoptotic cell loss, especially in CD4⁺ T lymphocytes and myeloid antigen-presenting cells. Meanwhile, IRF-1 KO mice demonstrate increased autophagy and improved mitochondrial integrity. This increased autophagy in KO mice is attributable, at least in part, to deactivation of mammalian target of rapamycin/P70S6 signaling--a main negative regulator of autophagy. Therefore, we propose a novel role for IRF-1 in regulating both apoptosis and autophagy in splenocytes in the setting of endotoxemia with IRF-1 promoting apoptosis and inhibiting autophagy.

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