Lee RT, Briggs WH, Cheng GC, Rossiter HB, Libby P, Kupper T. 1997. Mechanical deformation promotes secretion of IL-1 alpha and IL-1 receptor antagonist. Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). 159(10):5084-8. Pubmed: 9366437


Both IL-1 alpha and IL-1 beta lack an N terminus secretory sequence, and the mechanism of secretion of these pleiotropic cytokines is incompletely understood. The epidermis contains large quantities of IL-1 alpha in keratinocytes, which may play a role in inducing endothelial adhesion molecules and promoting extravasation of leukocytes. Here we report that mechanical deformation of human keratinocytes leads to rapid release of IL-1 alpha, possibly through transient disruptions in the plasma membrane. Using a device that precisely controls the amplitude of strain on the culture substrate, we found by pulse-chase analysis, Western analysis, and ELISA that the release of IL-1 alpha is dependent on the amplitude of the strain. A cyclic strain of 14% released a small but significant quantity of IL-1 alpha, while strains of 33% released 66 +/- 9% of cytoplasmic IL-1 alpha over 1 h (p < 0.001). Release of IL-1 alpha was accompanied by rapid release of large stores of IL-1R antagonist, approximately 25 to 30 times greater by mass than the quantity of IL-1 alpha released, but only a small fraction of cytoplasmic lactate dehydrogenase. Media conditioned by mechanically stimulated keratinocytes induced expression of E-selectin by human vascular endothelial cells; induction of E-selectin was completely inhibited by an Ab to IL-1 alpha. Therefore, mechanical strain promotes the secretion of IL-1 alpha, and deformation of keratinocytes in the epidermis may activate vascular endothelium through mechanically released IL-1 alpha. This pathophysiologic mechanism may play a role in the anatomic localization of some inflammatory skin diseases, such as psoriasis, which occurs more commonly in locations where the dermis is subjected to repetitive stretch or trauma.

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Rich Lee seeks to understand heart failure and metabolic diseases that accompany human aging, and translate that understanding into therapies. Lee is an active clinician, regularly treating patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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