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The effect of recombinant human granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) on the expression of HLA-DR, and the production of the cytokines interleukin-1 (IL-1) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) by human peripheral blood monocyte-enriched populations was investigated. GM-CSF was shown to induce both the expression of HLA-DR and the cytokines IL-1 and TNF alpha in a dose-dependent manner. In contrast, interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), which induced major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II expression, did not induce IL-1 or TNF alpha production. However, IFN-gamma enhanced the cell surface expression of HLA-DR and the production of IL-1 and TNF alpha on monocyte-enriched cells stimulated by GM-CSF. By itself, GM-CSF did not induce surface class II expression on the human monocytic tumour cell line THP-1, whereas it synergized with IFN-gamma to induce surface expression. These cells responded to GM-CSF by producing IL-1 and TNF alpha; Northern blotting showed that mRNA levels of IL-1 and TNF alpha were transiently induced, similar to other cytokines. Our results indicate that GM-CSF is a major macrophage activating factor that is capable of inducing both the expression of HLA-DR and the cytokines involved in T-cell activation by macrophages; therefore, GM-CSF may be of importance in potentiating antigen presenting function.


Journal article



Publication Date





60 - 67


Blotting, Northern, Cell Line, Flow Cytometry, Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Gene Expression, Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor, HLA-DR Antigens, Humans, In Vitro Techniques, Interferon-gamma, Interleukin-1, Lipopolysaccharides, Monocytes, RNA, Messenger, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha