A continuous line of mouse macrophages (P388D1) has been shown to secrete elastase, collagenase, and plasminogen activator at activities comparable to those of macrophages elicited by an inflammatory stimulus in vivo. At physiologic concentrations anti-inflammatory glucocorticoids selectively and reversibly inhibited secretion of the three proteinases but did not inhibit secretion of lysozyme, a constitutive enzyme produced by the P388D1 cells. The secretion of the neutral proteinases was inhibited 50% by 2 to 10 nM dexamethasone. Proliferation of the macrophages was also glucocorticoid sensitive. The P388D1 macrophages contained about 4000 saturable glucocorticoid-binding sites per cell. Concentrations of hormone saturating the high affinity receptor site (for dexamethasone the dissociation constant for steroid-receptor binding, Kd, was 4 nM) correlated well with concentrations inhibiting secretion of the proteinases. Only glucocorticoids and progesterone competed for binding to the specific receptors. Temperature-sensitive translocation of hormone-receptor complexes from “cytoplasm” to nucleus similar to that found with rat thymocytes was demonstrated. Thus, the interaction between glucocorticoids and the P388D1 cell line provides a model for the regulation of macrophage secretion of neutral proteinases under normal and stress conditions.


This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, (AM 14780, CA 17323, and AM 03535), the National and New Hampshire Chapters of the Arthritis Foundation, and the United States Department of Energy.

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