A key feature of the macrophage-dependent clearance of apoptotic cells is the down-regulation of proinlammatory cytokines. Deficiency in the phagocytosis of apoptotic cells is often associated with the development of inflammatory reactions, resulting in chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The molecular mechanisms that regulate the engulfment process and particularly the immunomodulatory factors involved are still largely unknown in mammals. We have previously reported that the ablation of transglutaminase type II (TG2) in mice results in the defective clearance of apoptotic cells associated with the development of splenomegaly, autoantibodies, and glomerulonephritis. In this study we have investigated the mechanisms at the basis of the development of inflammation/autoimmunity associated with the defective clearance of apoptotic cells characterizing TG2 knockout mice. To this aim we compared the macrophage response to apoptotic cell exposure in wild-type vs TG2-null mice. We demonstrated that the lack of TG2 results in an impaired capacity of macrophages to engulf, but not to bind, apoptotic cells, which is paralleled by an abnormal inflammatory response both in vivo and in vitro. We have identified a differential response in the release of several cytokines in TG2-/- vs wild-type mice. Particularly relevant is the finding that both TGF-β and IL-12 regulations were significantly altered in the absence of TG2. These results help explain the autoimmune phenotype developed by these mice and suggest that TG2 is a key regulatory element of the anti-inflammatory features of apoptosis.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Journal of Immunology|
|Publication status||Published - Jun 1 2005|
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