PRODUCTION OF TUMOUR NECROSIS FACTOR α BY PRIMARY CULTURED RAT ALVEOLAR EPITHELIAL CELLS
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Tumour necrosis factor alpha(TNF-alpha) is one of the most important pro-inflammatory cytokines, which plays an important role in host defense and acute inflammation related to tissue injury. The major source of TNF-alpha has been shown to be immune cells such as macrophages and neutrophils. In the present study, we demonstrated that LPS-treatment on alveolar epithelial cells isolated from adult rat lungs also induced a dose- and time-dependent release of TNF-alpha. The purity and identity of these cells were examined by immunofluorescent staining and confocal microscopy with antibodies for cytokeratin and pro-surfactant protein C, markers for epithelial cells and type II pneumocytes respectively. Positive staining of TNF-alpha was observed throughout the cell layer and localized intracellularly. LPS-induced TNF-alpha production from alveolar epithelial cells was blocked not only by cycloheximide, an inhibitor of protein translation, but also by actinomycin D, an inhibitor of gene transcription. The mRNA of TNF-alpha rapidly increased within 1 h of LPS stimulation. These data suggest that LPS-induced TNF-alpha production from alveolar epithelial cells is primarily regulated at the transcriptional level, which is different from that of macrophages and neutrophils. TNF-alpha produced by alveolar epithelial cells may function as an alert signal in host defense to induce production of other inflammatory mediators.
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