Macrophage Responses to Interferon-gamma are Dependent on Cystatin C Levels.

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The aim of the present investigation was to elucidate possible effects of cystatin C on inflammatory responses mediated by macrophages. Previously it has been shown that in vitro treatment of murine peritoneal macrophages with interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) causes a down-regulation of cystatin C secretion. To investigate whether such changes in cystatin C expression in turn can affect inflammatory responses mediated by macrophages, we have compared effects of IFN-gamma on macrophages isolated from wild-type (cysC(+/+)) and cystatin C knockout (cysC(-/-)) mice. It was shown that IFN-gamma-primed cysC(-/-) macrophages exhibit significantly higher interleukin-10 (IL-10) but lower tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) expression, and reduced nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB p65 activation, compared to similarily primed cysC(+/+) cells. Exogenously added cystatin C enhanced IFN-gamma-induced activation of NF-kappaB p65 and increased mRNA levels for inducible NO synthase (iNOS) in cysC(-/-) macrophages as well as levels of nitric oxide and TNF-alpha in the cell culture medium, in agreement with an enhanced pro-inflammatory response. Accordingly, IFN-gamma-induced IL-10 mRNA expression in cysC(-/-) macrophages was down-regulated by exogenously added cystatin C square. Taken together, our data provide evidence that changes in cystatin C levels alter macrophage responses to IFN-gamma. The latter downregulates the production of cystatin C, which leads to a suppressed inflammatory condition with enhanced IL-10 levels and downregulated TNF-alpha and NF-kappaB. It is concluded that cystatin C through this effect can act as an immunomodulatory molecule.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2262-2269
JournalInternational Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Medicinal Chemistry
  • Pharmacology and Toxicology
  • Rheumatology and Autoimmunity


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