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Clin Exp Immunol. 1997 Nov;110(2):296-302.

Colon carcinoma cell lines stimulate monocytes and lamina propria mononuclear cells to produce IL-10.

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Department of Medicine B, University of Münster, Germany.


Cytokines released from tumour cells may have function as signals to neighbouring immune and inflammatory cells. Several studies have shown that the immunoregulatory cytokines IL-10 and transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) as well as prostaglandin-E2 (PGE2) play an important role in tumour-induced immunosuppression. The aim of the study was to investigate the effect of colon carcinoma cell lines on IL-10 production in peripheral monocytes (PBMC) and lamina propria mononuclear cells (LPMC). We examined four colon carcinoma cell lines (HT-29, Caco-2, Colo-320 and HCT-116) and determined their production of TGF-beta1, IL-10 and PGE2. Peripheral monocytes were isolated by density gradient centrifugation and LPMC were isolated from surgical specimens using a collagenase digestion method. Monocytes and LPMC were cultured with colon carcinoma cell conditioned medium or in co-culture with colon carcinoma cells. Supernatants were then determined for the production of IL-10 by ELISA assays. All colon carcinoma cell lines stimulated peripheral monocytes as well as LPMC to produce markedly increased levels of IL-10. Colon cancer cells secreted negligible levels of IL-10, but high amounts of TGF-beta1 and PGE2. Neutralization of TGF-beta1 by administration of anti-TGF-beta as well as neutralization of PGE2 with anti-PGE2 antisera reduced the IL-10 production of monocytes markedly, indicating that tumour cell-derived TGF-beta1 and PGE2 are major factors for IL-10 stimulation. In vitro stimulation of monocytes with TGF-beta1 and PGE2 could confirm that TGF-beta1 as well as PGE2 at picogram concentrations were able to prime monocytes for enhanced IL-10 production. Our results demonstrate that colon carcinoma cell lines enhance the ability of monocytes and intestinal macrophages to produce IL-10. The stimulation of monocyte IL-10 by colon cancer cell-derived TGF-beta1 and PGE2 may act as a tumour-protecting mechanism by impairing the activation of anti-tumour cytokines.

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