Host Defence Peptide LL-37 Induces IL-6 Expression in Human Bronchial Epithelial Cells by Activation of the NF-κB Signaling Pathway
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LL-37, the only member of the cathelicidin family of cationic host defence peptides in humans, has been shown to mediate multiple immunomodulatory effects and as such is thought to be an important component of innate immune responses. A growing body of evidence indicates that LL-37 affects lung mucosal responses to pathogens through altered regulation of cell migration, proliferation, wound healing and cell apoptosis. These functions are consistent with LL-37 playing a role in regulating lung epithelial inflammatory responses; however, that role has not been clearly defined. In this report we have demonstrated that host defence peptide LL-37 induced cytokine (IL-6) and chemokine (CXCL-1/GRO-alpha and CXCL-8/IL-8) release from human bronchial epithelial cells. It was demonstrated that LL-37-mediated IL-6 release was time and dose dependent and that LL-37 up-regulated this pleiotropic cytokine at the transcriptional level. Using specific inhibitors it was shown that NF-kappaB signaling led to the LL-37-stimulated production of IL-6. LL-37 stimulation of airway epithelial cells activated NF-kappaB signaling, as demonstrated by the phosphorylation and degradation of Ikappa-Balpha, and consequent nuclear translocation of p65 and p50 NF-kappaB subunits. Furthermore this host defence peptide augmented flagellin-mediated cytokine production, indicating that LL-37 likely modulates Toll-like receptor 5-mediated responses.
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