Dexamethasone-induced suppression of apoptosis in human neutrophils requires continuous stimulation of new protein synthesis
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We examined the mechanisms of corticosteroid inhibition of cell death by apoptosis in human neutrophils. Suppression of apoptosis by dexamethasone was abolished by co-treatment with the protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide. At doses of 1 microg/mL cycloheximide did not reduce basal survival of neutrophils but effectively inhibited dexamethasone-induced increases in 24-h survival (24.4 +/- 8.7 vs. 49.6 +/- 10%, P < 0.01). Similar results were obtained with actinomycin D, an inhibitor of mRNA synthesis. The factor(s) responsible for mediating increased survival following dexamethasone treatment is not active extracellularly because dexamethasone-treated neutrophil-conditioned medium (CM) had no effect on the survival of naive neutrophils when the direct effects of dexamethasone were neutralized with the steroid antagonist RU-486. In contrast, LPS-treated neutrophil CM significantly increased neutrophil survival even after addition of polymyxin b. The survival effect of dexamethasone required the continuous presence of the agonist because addition of RU-486 caused prompt development of apoptosis in dexamethasone-treated cells. When naive and dexamethasone-treated cells were examined by mRNA differential display, a limited number of cDNA bands were consistently and reproducibly detected that were increased in intensity, indicating up-regulation by dexamethasone. Thus, corticosteroid regulation of neutrophil apoptosis is a specific effect that depends on continuous stimulation of synthesis of a (protein) survival factor.
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