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Eur J Immunol. 1989 Feb;19(2):301-5.

Differential regulation of lipopolysaccharide-induced interleukin 1 and tumor necrosis factor synthesis: effects of endogenous and exogenous glucocorticoids and the role of the pituitary-adrenal axis.

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Department of Immunology, Lilly Research Laboratories, Indianapolis, IN 46285.


Intraperitoneal injection of a sublethal dose of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) into mice resulted in the appearance of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) in the serum within 45 min. Maximal serum TNF was detected by 1 h, and by 3-4 h TNF levels were no longer significantly above baseline. Injection of mice with an additional dose of LPS at 4 h resulted in no further increase in serum TNF. The in vivo kinetics of TNF appearance correlated with in vitro studies in which TNF mRNA was detected in murine peritoneal macrophages 30 min after LPS stimulation. The increase in serum TNF was not detected in mice treated with dexamethasone, 3 mg/kg, prior to LPS stimulation. The decrease in TNF correlated with the appearance of significant amounts of endogenous serum corticosterone which were maximal by 3 h. Further evidence for the role of endogenous steroids in the modulation of serum TNF levels was obtained in studies with adrenalectomized or hypophysectomized mice. Compared to sham-operated animals, serum TNF levels remain elevated 5 h post LPS stimulation in adrenalectomized or hypophysectomized mice. In contrast with the transient increase in TNF, serum IL 1 was maximal 4 h post LPS injection and remained elevated at 24 h. In vitro studies with primary cultures of human peripheral blood monocytes and human umbilical cord vein endothelial cells demonstrated that LPS-induced monocyte IL 1 levels were reduced approximately 5-fold by 10(-7) M dexamethasone while dexamethasone had only minimal effects on endothelial cell IL 1. Therefore, the in vitro data would suggest that the maintenance of elevated IL 1 levels coincident with the appearance of endogenous corticosteroids during LPS shock is related to the synthesis of IL 1 by both monocyte-macrophages and non-myeloid cell populations including endothelial cells.

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