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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 1996 Mar;14(3):254-61.

Protein kinase C, interleukin-1 beta, and corticosteroids regulate shedding of the type I, 55 kDa TNF receptor from human airway epithelial cells.

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Critical Care Medicine Department, Warren G. Magnuson Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.


Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) may contribute to the pathogenesis of inflammatory airway disorders via the regulation of inflammatory and cellular immune responses. Shed cell surface TNF receptors can act as soluble TNF binding proteins and modulate TNF biological activity. We report that normal human airway epithelial cells, as well as two human airway epithelial cell lines, shed soluble type I TNF receptors (sTNF-RI) in a concentration-dependent fashion following protein kinase C (PKC) activation by PMA. Interleukin (IL)-1beta also induced concentration-dependent sTNF-RI shedding from NCI-H292 cells, which could be inhibited by the PKC inhibitor calphostin C. Since corticosteroids are commonly utilized as antiinflammatory agents in airway disorders, the effect of dexamethasone on sTNF-RI release was assessed. Dexamethasone inhibited constitutive, as well as PMA- and IL-1beta-mediated sTNF-RI release from NCI-H292 cells in a concentration-dependent fashion. Furthermore, dexamethasone increased while PMA decreased total cellular 55 kDa TNF-RI protein as detected by immunoblotting. These changes in total cellular 55kDa TNF-RI protein did not appear to be mediated at the mRNA level, as assessed by ribonuclease protection assays. This suggests that sTNF-RI shedding represents a mechanism by which airway epithelial cells can actively participate in local cytokine networks and modulate TNF-mediated inflammation. Furthermore, since corticosteroids inhibit sTNF-RI release and are known to downregulate TNF synthesis, this may represent a mechanism by which equilibrium between TNF ligand and soluble binding protein is maintained in the airway microenvironment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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