The immunomodulatory role of unmethylated cytosine-guanine sequences (CpG) in bacterial DNA has been well documented. We have previously demonstrated that murine macrophage-like RAW 264.7 cells respond to CpG DNA with an increase in the proinflammatory cytokine, TNF-α, in both a dose-dependent and time-dependent manner. In addition, CpG DNA stimulates a significant, though delayed, secretion of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10. Because TNF-α and TNFR (TNFRI and II) expression are tightly regulated responses, we hypothesized that CpG containing oligodeoxynucleotide (CpG ODN) would also affect TNFRI and II shedding. Using both murine peritoneal macrophages and RAW 264.7 cells, we demonstrated a significant, time-dependent increase in soluble TNFRI and TNFRII production with CpG ODN stimulation. RAW 264.7 cells treated with CpG ODN had a transient increase in membrane TNFRII expression, but not TNFRI. Both types of TNFR mRNA were also up-regulated by CpG ODN, and addition of the transcriptional inhibitor actinomycin D abrogated the effect of CpG ODN on TNFR mRNA and protein expression. Addition of anti-IL-10 and anti-TNF-α Abs did not change these results. The addition of plate-bound anti-TNF receptor Abs to tiffs system increased the amount of bioactive TNF, implying that these receptors are acting as inhibitors of TNF activity. These results suggest that the de novo, non-IL-10- and non-TNF-α-dependent transcription, translation, and shedding of TNFRs are additional potential counterinflammatory effects of CpG DNA.
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