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Biochem Mol Biol Int. 1997 Sep;43(1):79-87.

Activation of macrophages by lactoferrin: secretion of TNF-alpha, IL-8 and NO.

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Department of Microbiology, Dokkyo University School of Medicine, Tochigi, Japan.


When macrophages were cultured with lactoferrin, cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF-alpha), interleukin 8 (IL-8) and nitric oxide (NO) were secreted. Secretion of TNF-alpha peaked at 6 h of incubation in the presence of lactoferrin and then declined. About 80% of the maximum secretion of IL-8 was observed at 6 h of incubation. The concentration of IL-8 in the culture medium remained almost constant between 24-72 h. In contrast, no significant effect on NO secretion was observed at 6 h, but a significant effect was observed at 24 h and secretion gradually increased between 24-72 h. The effects of lactoferrin on the secretion of TNF-alpha, IL-8 and NO were dose-dependent and lactoferrin had a significant effect on secretion of at concentrations greater than 10 mg/ml. The use of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) showed that the results obtained were consistent with the cytokine secretion results. It is concluded that lactoferrin activates macrophages which result in the secretion of TNF-alpha, IL-8 and NO.

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