The American journal of pathology

Foreign body-type multinucleated giant cell formation is potently induced by alpha-tocopherol and prevented by the diacylglycerol kinase inhibitor R59022.

PMID 12937156


Multinucleated foreign body giant cells (FBGCs) form by monocyte-derived macrophage fusion on implanted biomedical devices and are believed to mediate oxidative damage to biomaterial surfaces. Our in vitro system of human macrophage culture and interleukin (IL)-4-induced FBGC formation was developed to study the macrophage fusion mechanism and the physiological significance of FBGCs on implanted biomaterials and at other sites of chronic inflammation. Here, we demonstrate that the antioxidant vitamin E (90% alpha-tocopherol) moderately induces macrophage fusion and increases IL-4-induced FBGC formation. Moreover, purified alpha-tocopherol, but not beta-, gamma-, or delta-tocopherol, most remarkably induces macrophage fusion, leading to cultures of confluent FBGCs below normal plasma concentrations. This is not observed with the similar antioxidants probucol or Trolox, suggesting that the alpha-tocopherol effects on FBGC formation are independent of its antioxidant activity. Consistent with the reported activation of diacylglycerol kinase by alpha-tocopherol, the diacylglycerol kinase inhibitor R59022 completely abrogates FBGC formation. R59022 inhibition of IL-4-induced FBGC formation is reversed by alpha-tocopherol, suggesting that FBGC formation involves diacylglycerol kinase activation. This study suggests a novel role for diacylglycerol kinase in the mechanism of macrophage fusion/FBGC formation at sites of chronic inflammation and reveals that the pleiotropic lipophilic compound, alpha-tocopherol, is a highly potent macrophage fusion factor.

Related Materials

Product #



Molecular Formula

Add to Cart

Diacylglycerol Kinase Inhibitor I, solid