The in vitro effects of gamma interferon (IFN-γ) on the mouse CD5+ B1-cell line, TH2.52, a hybridoma between mouse B lymphoma and mouse splenic B cells that expresses a series of B1 markers, were investigated. A significant number of macrophage-like cells appeared in the cultures of TH2.52 cells exposed to IFN-γ these adhering to plastic dishes and exhibiting phagocytic activity. Positive for esterase staining, the macrophage-like cells returned to the original TH2.52 morphology upon removal of IFN-γ. The change was prevented by treatment with SB202190, an inhibitor of p38 mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase and by transfection of a p38 MAP kinase dominant-negative mutant. Further, interleukin-4 (IL-4) inhibited IFN-γ-induced phosphorylation of p38 MAP kinase and the appearance of macrophage-like cells. IFN-γ and IL-4 exhibited contradictory actions on morphological change of CD5+ B1 cells into macrophage-like cells. Differential regulation of CD5+ B1 cells by IFN-γ, a Th1 cytokine, and IL-4, a Th2 cytokine, may have clear immunological significance.
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