The THP-1 cell line is a urokinase-secreting mononuclear phagocyte with a novel defect in the production of plasminogen activator inhibitor-2

Gross, T.J.; Sitrin, R.G.

Journal of Immunology 144(5): 1873-1879


ISSN/ISBN: 0022-1767
PMID: 2307845
Document Number: 366119
Mononuclear phagocytes regulate the generation of plasmin by secreting urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) and plasminogen activator inhibitor-2 (PAI-2). We investigated the production of plasminogen activator (PA) and PA inhibitor by the human monocytic leukemia cell line, THP-1. Similar to U937 monoblast-like cells and peripheral blood monocytes (PBM), THP-1 cells produce a PA that is specifically neutralized by anti-uPA antibody and comigrates with human high molecular mass uPA (54 kDa) on casein-plasminogen zymogaphy. PA activity could be dissociated from intact THP-1 cells by brief treatment with a weak acid-glycine buffer, indicating that the uPA is secreted and bound to receptors on the plasma membrane. Regulation of uPA proceeds normally in THP-1 cells, with cell-associated PA activity increasing from 77 +/- 20 to 163 +/- 26 and 325 +/- 30 mPU/10(6) cells in response to PMA and LPS, respectively; parallel increases in steady state levels of uPA mRNA were observed. In contrast to normal expression of uPA activity, functional PAI-2 could not be demonstrated in either the conditioned media or cell lysates of THP-1 under basal or stimulated conditions. Both U937 and PBM secrete low levels of PA inhibitor activity that increase substantially in response to stimulation with PMA and LPS. Immunoreactive PAI-2, measured by ELISA, was undetectable in THP-1 lysates or conditioned medium, but was consistently present in U937 and PBM, paralleling the presence of PA inhibitor activity. THP-1 cells express low levels of an abnormally sized mRNA for PAI-2 and demonstrate a regulatory defect whereby steady state levels of PAI-2 mRNA are markedly reduced upon stimulation with PMA or LPS. By contrast, U937 and PBM respond to identical stimulation with increases in PAI-2 mRNA. We conclude that THP-1 cells express a structurally abnormal species of PAI-2 mRNA, with complete loss of inhibitory activity as well as altered function of PMA- and LPS-responsive regulatory elements.

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