We have previously reported that IL-3, a cytokine produced by both Th1 and Th2 type CD4+ T cells, displays macrophage-activating potential. IL-3, like IFN-gamma, readily induced functions related to Ag presentation (e.g., Ia and lymphocyte function-associated Ag-1 expression). However, in contrast to the response elicited by IFN-gamma, tumor cytotoxicity was not induced by IL-3. In this paper we have evaluated the capacity of IL-3 to regulate IL-1 expression. Our data demonstrate that although IL-3 alone was unable to induce the production of substantial IL-1 bioactivity in peritoneal exudate cells, it contributed synergistically to the induction of IL-1 bioactivity in the presence of suboptimal doses of LPS. It was of interest that IFN-gamma, which can also interact synergistically with LPS, was unable to complement the partial signals provided by IL-3 for the expression of IL-1 bioactivity, suggesting that IL-3 and IFN-gamma may be providing similar stimulatory signals in this respect. Our studies on the mechanism of synergy between IL-3 and LPS indicated that the effect of LPS did not appear to be mediated by the well-characterized LPS-inducible cytokines of macrophage origin (i.e., IL-1, alpha and beta, TNF-alpha, and IL-6). The best characterized function of IL-3 is its multicolony-stimulating activity as a CSF; in this context we also studied granulocyte-macrophage CSF and noted that it behaves similarly to IL-3 in that it can synergistically contribute to IL-1 induction. A similar, but more dramatic induction of IL-1 synthesis in response to IL-3 was demonstrated by the P388.D1 murine macrophage cell line. The kinetics and the molecular mechanism of the response of P388.D1 to IL-3 indicate several unique features of IL-3-induced IL-1 expression: 1) IL-3 itself induced IL-1 mRNA expression, which was unaccompanied by substantial production of bioactivity, either cell-associated or secreted into the culture supernatant; 2) IL-3 synergized with suboptimal doses of LPS to induce not only heightened IL-1 mRNA levels but bioactivity as well; and 3) IL-3, when combined with LPS, altered the kinetics of IL-1 message and bioactive protein production in response to LPS: IL-3 and LPS induced an early release (3 to 7 h poststimulation) of the IL-1 protein as well as a second peak of mRNA and bioactivity (at 12 to 36 h), which was not observed in response to either IL-3 or LPS alone.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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