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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Retinoids synergize with interleukin-2 to augment IFN-gamma and interleukin-12 production by human peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

We have demonstrated previously that cells from both the skin and peripheral blood from patients with cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL) have elevated levels of protein and mRNA for Th2 cytokines, interleukin-4 (IL-4) and IL-5, and depressed levels of Thl cytokines, IL-2 and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma). Furthermore, IL-12 in vitro can restore IFN-gamma production by these patients' cells to near normal levels. Because retinoids exert therapeutic activity in CTCL and are potent modulators of growth and differentiation of hematopoietic cells, we investigated the role of retinoids in modulating Thl cytokine production. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from normal donors and patients with CTCL were cultured with medium, IL-2, 13-cis-retinoic acid, all-trans-retinoic acid, acetretin or etretinate alone, or IL-2 plus the retinoids for 24 h, and levels of IFN-gamma were determined using ELISA. IL-2 or retinoids alone could induce low but significant levels of IFN-gamma. However, when IL-2 was cultured with each retinoid, a synergistic augmentation of IFN-gamma levels (4-fold to 90-fold) was observed except in the case of etretinate. All-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) was the most potent IFN-y inducer. Similar studies performed using PBMC from CTCL patients indicated the IFN-gamma augmentation occurred but in a blunted manner. The IFN-y-inducing effect of ATRA and 13-cis-retinoic acid could be abrogated by addition of anti-IL-12 antibodies, suggesting that IL-12 plays a role in the synergistic upregulation of IFN-gamma. Using an IL-12 p40-specific radioimmunoassay (RIA), we confirmed the presence of IL-12 in IL-2 plus retinoid-treated culture supernatants. Purified monocytes cultured with IL-2 plus ATRA did not secrete IL-12. Only when monocytes were cocultured with lymphocytes was there an increase in IL-12 production, suggesting the involvement of a paracrine feedback loop requiring both monocytes and lymphocytes. These data suggest that retinoids can induce Th1 cytokines from normal and CTCL PBMC and that this induction may be mediated through IL-12 production.[1]


  1. Retinoids synergize with interleukin-2 to augment IFN-gamma and interleukin-12 production by human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Fox, F.E., Kubin, M., Cassin, M., Niu, Z., Trinchieri, G., Cooper, K.D., Rook, A.H. J. Interferon Cytokine Res. (1999) [Pubmed]
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