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Gastroenterology. 1993 Dec;105(6):1689-97.

Differential cytokine expression by human intestinal epithelial cell lines: regulated expression of interleukin 8.

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Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla.



To characterize the role of intestinal epithelial cells in mucosal host defense, we have examined constitutive cytokine expression and regulated expression of interleukin (IL)-8 by human colonic epithelial cells.


Cytokine expression by the human colonic epithelial cell lines, T84, Caco-2, SW620, and HT29 was assessed by using polymerase chain reaction amplification of reverse-transcribed RNA. Regulated IL-8 expression was analyzed by nuclear run-off assays, Northern blot analysis, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.


The cell lines constitutively expressed messenger RNA (mRNA) for IL-8 and transforming growth factor beta 1. In addition, some cell lines expressed mRNA for IL-1 alpha, IL-1 beta, IL-10 and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha). None of the cell lines expressed mRNA for IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, or interferon gamma. Cell lines secreted IL-8 either constitutively or after stimulation with the physiological agonists TNF alpha, IL-1 beta, or lipopolysaccharide. Increased IL-8 secretion after TNF alpha stimulation of T84 cells was accompanied by increased IL-8 mRNA levels and an increased transcription rate of the IL-8 gene. IL-8 was preferentially secreted at the basolateral surface of polarized T84 cells. In further studies, freshly isolated human colon epithelial cells also secreted IL-8.


These results support the notion of bidirectional communication between intestinal epithelial cells and mucosal immune and inflammatory cells.

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