Expression of monocyte chemotactic protein-1 by monocytes and endothelial cells exposed to thrombin

Francesco Colotta, Francesca L. Sciacca, Marina Sironi, Walter Luini, Marie J. Rabiet, Alberto Mantovani

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Thrombin, in addition to being a key enzyme in hemostasis, affects a series of endothelial and leukocyte functions and thus may be involved in the regulation of inflammatory reactions. Because leukocyte recruitment and activation are important events in inflammatory and thrombotic processes, in this study we have examined the possibility that thrombin induces the production of a cytokine chemotactic for mononuclear phagocytes. Human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) exposed in vitro to thrombin expressed transcripts of monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1; alternative acronyms: JE, monocyte chemotactic and activating factor, tumor-derived chemotactic factor). Thrombin was two- to threefold less effective than endotoxin in inducing MCP-1 transcripts in PBMC. Among circulating mononuclear cells, monocytes were identified as the cells expressing MCP-1 in response to thrombin. Monocytes expressed thrombin receptor transcripts. Boiling, hirudin, antithrombin III, and mutation of the catalytic site (serine 205 into alanine) blocked the capacity of thrombin to induce MCP-1 expression. The thrombin receptor-activating peptide mimicked the effect of thrombin in inducing MCP-1 expression. Induction of MCP-1 transcript by thrombin was not reduced by blocking interleukin-1 and tumor necrosis factor, suggesting that these mediators are not involved in thrombin-induced expression of MCP-1. In addition to monocytes, endothelial cells (EC) also expressed MCP-1 in response to thrombin, although at lower levels compared with monocytes. Actinomycin D experiments indicated that induction of MCP-1 by thrombin in PBMC and EC was gene transcription dependent. The inhibition of protein synthesis blocked thrombin-induced MCP-1 expression in PBMC, whereas it superinduced both constitutive and thrombin-inducible expression of MCP-1 in EC, indicating different mechanisms of regulation of this gene in mononuclear phagocytes versus endothelial cells. Thrombin stimulated mononuclear cells and EC to release chemotactic activity for monocytes that could be inhibited by absorption with anti-MCP-1 antibodies. Induction of a chemotactic cytokine for monocytes by thrombin points to the importance of this enzyme in regulating inflammatory processes and further indicates that hemostasis, inflammation, and immunity are strictly interconnected processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)975-985
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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