Interleukin-15 (IL-15) induces NF-κB activation and IL-8 production in human neutrophils

Patrick P. McDonald, Maria Pia Russo, Silvano Ferrini, Marco A. Cassatella

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Interleukin-2 (IL-2) and IL-15 exert similar biological actions, which largely reflect the fact that their receptors share common β and γ subunits; in contrast, distinct α subunits are required for high-affinity binding of either cytokine to a heterotrimeric receptor-complex. Human neutrophils are known to express both the β and γ subunits of the IL-2/IL- 15 receptor complex, and we now report that they also constitutively express messenger RNA transcripts encoding the IL-15 receptor α chain, suggesting that they possess functional, heterotrimeric IL-15 receptors. Accordingly, we show that in neutrophils, IL-15 elicits several functional responses. In particular, neutrophils synthesize and release IL-8 in response to IL-15, but not to IL-2. Moreover, a nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) DNA-binding activity was enhanced in nuclear extracts of IL-15-treated neutrophils, which could be super-shifted by antibodies to p50 or RelA. Again, no detectable effect of IL-2 was observed on this response. In peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL), however, both IL-2 and IL-15 were potent inducers of NF-κB activation. Conversely, neither IL-15 nor IL-2 elicited the formation of activator protein-1 (AP-1) DNA-binding complexes in neutrophils, even though both cytokines were found to activate these DNA-binding activities in PBL. Collectively, these observations establish neutrophils as a useful cellular model to discriminate between the actions of IL-15 and IL-2. More importantly, this is the first demonstration that IL-15 has the ability to induce NF-κB and AP-1 activation, which further emphasizes the potential relevance of this newly discovered cytokine to immune and inflammatory processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4828-4835
Number of pages8
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 15 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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