BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE IFN-γ levels are increased in chronic obstructive airway disease (COPD) patients compared with healthy subjects and are further elevated during viral exacerbations. IFN-γ can ‘prime’ macrophages to enhance the response to toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands, such as LPS. The aim of this study was to examine the effect IFN-γ on corticosteroid sensitivity in alveolar macrophages (AM).
EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH AM from non-smokers, smokers and COPD patients were stimulated with IFN-γ and/or LPS with or without dexamethasone. IL-6, TNF-α and IFN-γ-induced protein 10 kDa (IP-10) levels were measured by elisa, and Western blots were used to investigate the IFN-γ-stimulated Janus kinase (JAK)/signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) signalling pathway. Real-time PCR and flow cytometry were used to investigate TLR levels following IFN-γ treatment.
KEY RESULTS In all three subject groups, IFN-γ alone had no effect on IL-6 and TNF-α production but enhanced the effects of LPS on these cytokines. In contrast, IFN-γ alone increased the production of IP-10. IFN-γ increased TLR2 and TLR4 expression in AM. Cytokine induction and STAT1 activation by IFN-γ were insensitive to dexamethasone for all groups. The inhibition of JAK and STAT1 repressed all these IFN-γ effects.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS Our results demonstrate that IFN-γ–induced STAT-1 signalling is corticosteroid resistant in AMs, and that targeting IFN-γ signalling by JAK inhibitors is a potentially novel anti-inflammatory strategy in COPD.