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Phagocytosis of microparticles increases responsiveness of macrophage-like cell lines U937 and THP-1 to bacterial lipopolysaccharide and lipopeptide

Ueno, T;Yamamoto, Y;Kawasaki, K;

Following bacterial infection, macrophages produce pro-inflammatory cytokines in response to bacterial cell components, including lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and lipopeptide, and simultaneously phagocytize and digest the invading bacteria. To study the effects of phagocytosis on pro-inflammatory responses, we determined if phagocytosis of polystyrene latex beads with?~?1 µm diameter increases pro-inflammatory cytokine expression by human macrophage-like U937 and THP-1 cells stimulated with LPS. Treating macrophage-like cells with beads coated with IgG to facilitate Fc? receptor-mediated phagocytosis increased LPS-induced expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin-1 beta, and interleukin-6. Treatment with beads coated with poly-L-lysine to facilitate Fc? receptor-independent phagocytosis also increased LPS-induced cytokine expression. Our results indicate that LPS-induced pro-inflammatory responses are enhanced by bead phagocytosis regardless of the uptake mechanism. Additionally, phagocytosis enhanced LPS-induced NF-?B activation, suggesting that Toll-like receptor (TLR) 4 signaling is enhanced by phagocytosis. Furthermore, bead phagocytosis enhanced pro-inflammatory responses in U937 cells stimulated with lipopeptide, a ligand for the TLR2/TLR6 heterodimeric receptor. In conclusion, microparticle phagocytosis by macrophage-like U937 and THP-1 cells enhances the innate immune response induced by bacterial components.