The CXC-chemokine platelet factor 4 promotes monocyte survival and induces monocyte differentiation into macrophages.

PMID 10666185


Unstimulated monocytes rapidly undergo physiological changes resulting in programmed cell death (apoptosis) while stimuli promoting differentiation of these cells into macrophages were shown to inhibit apoptotic processes. In the present study, we report that the platelet-derived alpha-chemokine platelet factor 4 (PF4) induces the differentiation of monocytes into macrophages, as is evident from morphological changes as well as from the up-regulation of differentiation markers (carboxypeptidase M/MAX1 and CD71). Significant alterations of the phenotype were observed after 72 hours of culture in the presence of the chemokine and required a minimal concentration of 625 nmol/L PF4. PF4-induced macrophages were characterized by a lack of HLA-DR antigen on their surface but showed a strong increase in the expression of the CD28 ligand B7-2. Furthermore, PF4 stimulation prevented monocytes from undergoing spontaneous apoptosis during 72 hours of culture as determined in an annexin-V-binding assay. Although PF4 induced the secretion of relevant amounts of TNF-alpha, neutralizing antibodies directed against TNF-alpha or granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) did not revert PF4-induced rescue from programmed cell death, suggesting that PF4 exerts its antiapoptotic effects in a TNF-alpha- or GM-CSF-independent fashion. On the basis of these results, we propose a novel role for PF4 in the control of monocyte differentiation during an inflammatory process in vivo. (Blood. 2000;95:1158-1166)