Macrophage-activating lipopeptide-2 (MALP-2) is a potent inducer of proinflammatory cytokine secretion by macrophages, monocytes, and dendritic cells. MALP-2 was reported to be involved in natural killer (NK) cell activation and ensuing tumor rejection. However, the mechanism of MALP-2-mediated NK cell activation remained unclear. Therefore, we studied the effects of MALP-2 on cultured human NK cells. We found that MALP-2 had no direct effect on NK cells. Instead, MALP-2 acted on monocytes and triggered the release of different molecules such as interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12, IL-15, interferon gamma-induced protein (IP-10), and prostaglandin (PG)-E2. Our data show that monocyte-derived IP-10 could significantly induce NK cell cytotoxicity as long as the immunosuppression by PGE2 is specifically inhibited by cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 blockade. In summary, our results show that MALP-2-mediated stimulation of monocytes results in the production of several mediators which, depending on the prevailing conditions, affect the activity of NK cells in various ways. Hence, MALP-2 administration with concurrent blocking of COX-2 can be considered as a promising approach in MALP-2-based adjuvant tumor therapies.
- COX-2 upregulation
- NK cell activation