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Clin Exp Immunol. 1993 Mar;91(3):521-5.

Interferon-gamma stimulates the secretion of IL-1, but not of IL-6, by glomerular mesangial cells.

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Monash Medical Centre, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia.


IL-1 activity in culture supernatant and cell lysate from rat mesangial cells stimulated with interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) was measured by a thymocyte proliferation assay. While IFN-gamma alone had no effect on the secretion or the intracellular pool of IL-1, the enhancement by IFN-gamma of IL-1 secretion in response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) was observed. The stimulatory effect of culture supernatant on thymocyte proliferation was abrogated by preincubation with the anti-IL-1 antibody. At least 4-h incubation with IFN-gamma and LPS was required to detect enhancing effect of IFN-gamma. The addition of as little as 1 U/ml IFN-gamma significantly increased IL-1 secretion in the presence of 10 micrograms/ml LPS. The IL-6 activity in culture supernatants was determined by measurement of thymidine uptake in mouse IL-6-dependent cell line (MH60.BSF2). Mesangial cells secreted IL-6 in culture supernatant without additional stimuli and LPS distinctly increased it as described previously. However, in contrast to IL-1 production, no effect of IFN-gamma on IL-6 secretion was observed in the presence or absence of LPS. Moreover, we determined whether enhanced IL-1 release is associated with Ia expression on mesangial cells. IFN-gamma alone and the combination with LPS induced marked expression of Ia antigen, whereas LPS alone did not. We conclude that IFN-gamma stimulates the production of IL-1, but not IL-6, by mesangial cells and suggest an important role of IFN-gamma in the pathogenesis of glomerulonephritis by regulating the mesangial production of IL-1 and the accessory cell function of mesangial cells.

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