Molecular and cellular biochemistry

IL-12 could induce monocytic tumor cells directional differentiation.

PMID 25563480


Interleukin-12 (IL-12), a member of interleukin family, plays a critical role in immune responses and anti-tumor activity. In this study, the effects of IL-12 on monocytic tumor cell lines differentiation to macrophagocyte and its likely mechanism was investigated. We examined the differentiation markers, morphological and functional changes, and possible mechanism in IL-12-treated THP-1 and U937 cells. It was found that IL-12 could up-regulated macrophage surface marker CD68 and CD11b expression in a time-dependent manner. Morphologically, after IL-12 treatment, THP-1 and U937 cells became round or irregular shape, even stretched many cell membrane protuberances; some cell nuclei became fuzzy or completely disappeared, and the chromatin appeared dense and cordlike. Furthermore, IL-12-induced monocytic tumor cell differentiation was accompanied by the growth arrest with G1-phase accumulation and S-phase reduction; apoptosis increased with anti-apoptosis protein Bcl-2 down-expression and pro-apoptosis protein Fas up-regulation, and enhanced phagocytosis function. The IL-12-induced macrophage differentiation of THP-1 and U937 cells was associated with the up-regulation of c-fms expression and the CSF-1R Tyr 809 site phosphorylation. These findings have revealed that IL-12 could induce monocytic tumor cells directional differentiation into macrophage-like cells, and its mechanism is possible connected with the up-regulation of c-fms expression and the phosphorylation of CSF-1R Tyr-809 site.