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December 1999

Priming Interleukin 8 Production: Role of Platelet-Activating Factor and p38

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle.

Arch Surg. 1999;134(12):1348-1353. doi:10.1001/archsurg.134.12.1348

Hypothesis  Platelet-activating factor (PAF) activates p38, an important intracellular signal transduction kinase, and primes human mononuclear cells for the production of interleukin 8 (IL-8), a potent chemoattractant and activator of neutrophils.

Methods  Human mononuclear cells were isolated from healthy adults by Ficoll-paque density-gradient centrifugation. Interleukin-8 in the supernatant was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Dual phospho-specific p38 antibody was used to detect activated p38 by Western blotting.

Results  Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and PAF activated p38. There was a shorter latency to peak p38 activation with PAF vs LPS stimulation, 5 vs 30 minutes. Platelet-activating factor–induced p38 activation was calcium dependent because it was inhibited by ethyleneglycoltetracetic acid. Lipopolysaccharide, 0.01 to 1.00 ng/mL, induced significant IL-8 production. Although PAF did not induce significant IL-8 production, it potentiated LPS-induced IL-8 production. Production of IL-8, in response to LPS alone or in combination with PAF, was inhibited by SB202190, a specific p38 inhibitor.

Conclusions  Although LPS and PAF activated p38, only LPS induced IL-8 production; PAF acted as a priming agent. It seems that p38 activation is necessary but not sufficient for IL-8 production by human mononuclear cells. Identifying and evaluating the activation state of inflammatory signal transduction pathways might lead to methods for controlling and preventing neutrophil-induced tissue injury without interfering with the normal host immune response.