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

Opposing effects of dexamethasone on the clonal growth of granulocyte and macrophage progenitor cells and on the phagocytic capability of mononuclear phagocytes at different stages of differentiation.

Dexamethasone, a synthetic glucocorticosteroid, was shown to modulate the colony-stimulating factor-dependent clonal growth of myeloid progenitor cells in semisolid agar cultures, enhancing the formation of granulocyte colonies (50-100%) and suppressing the formation of macrophage colonies (75-97%). Modulation of the pattern of myeloid colony formation by dexamethasone (12-125 nM) was brought about when the steroid was administered to 6-day cultures at the time of culture initiation and up to 72 hr later. Dexamethasone inhibited myeloid cell proliferation when administered to 5-day liquid cultures at culture initiation and up to 96 hr later. Dexamethasone (12-250 nM) also enhanced the phagocytic activity of bone marrow-derived mononuclear phagocytes toward heat-killed (HK) yeast cells (up to 100%) and IgG-coated sheep red blood cells (up to 60%). Enhancement of the phagocytic capability depended critically on the stage in culture at which dexamethasone was administered. Exposure to dexamethasone for 28 hr up to 96 hr of 96-hr cultures of bone marrow cells did not lead to a modulation of phagocytic activity of the developing mononuclear phagocytes. The presence of dexamethasone during the critical period of 96 hr to 120 hr after culture initiation led to an enhanced phagocytic capability, which was statistically significant already 12 hr after the administration of the glucocorticoid. Dexamethasone induced an enhanced phagocytic activity when administered at any time after culture initiation provided that it was in culture during this critical period. When added at 120 hr of culture, dexamethasone no longer enhanced the phagocytic capability of mononuclear phagocytes and when added later than 156 hr of culture suppressed it. Dexamethasone also suppressed (up to 68%) the phagocytic capability of resident and elicited peritoneal macrophages. The results suggest that glucocorticoids shift the balance of granulocyte vs. macrophage formation at early stages of precursor cell differentiation. Reduction in mononuclear phagocyte growth and enhancement of its phagocytic capability might reflect accelerated differentiation/maturation steps. The inhibitory effect of dexamethasone on macrophage formation and on the phagocytic capability of mature mononuclear phagocytes and peritoneal macrophages might be a relevant aspect of the in vivo immune suppression encountered after glucocorticoid administration.[1]


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