An outstanding question of current immunology is to define the mechanisms by which microbial products influence the immunopathologic host response elements in the early stages of infection. Macrophages are now well recognized to have a critical role in both innate and acquired immunity. In order to adjust promptly to continuous changes in microenvironment and maintain the immunologic balance, macrophages adequately respond by activating one of the numerous immunologic programs. However, sustained macrophage activation and excessive production of inflammatory mediators can perpetuate the numerous pathological processes and contribute to induction of stress response and even apoptosis. Therefore, selective modulation of macrophage activity represents an important strategy for prevention and treatment of inappropriate inflammatory responses in order to minimize the unwanted side-effects of the immunity. Macrophages can be selectively reprogrammed for a specific phenotype of immune response, e.g. cytokine or nitric oxide (NO), by relatively short-term exposure of the cells to substimulatory concentrations of different microbial components, including LPS. These LPS-dependent reprogramming effects are mediated by IFNgamma- independent autocrine cytokine regulatory mechanisms that also controlled at the transcriptional level. Furthermore, LPS reprogrammed macrophages exhibit differential capacity to resist experimentally induced apoptosis and to produce heat shock proteins. Complete analysis of, and appreciation for, the immunoregulatory mechanisms implicated in LPS-dependent reprogramming of immune responses in macrophages can be expected to increase our understanding of the host innate response, as well as allow investigators to utilize emerging immunologic technologies in effective treatment of infections and chronic inflammatory diseases.
Keywords: macrophages, lps, stress response, apoptosis, nitric oxide, cytokines, innate and acquired immunity
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