Interleukin-8 induces lymphocyte chemotaxis into the pleural space. Role of pleural macrophages

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1999 May;159(5 Pt 1):1592-9. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.159.5.9806001.


The pleural space is a potential compartment between the lung and chest wall that becomes filled with fluid and inflammatory cells in a number of respiratory diseases. In an attempt to understand one aspect of the inflammatory process in the pleural space, we compared the responses in three different diseases (congestive heart failure [CHF], tuberculosis [TB], and cancer). Large concentrations of interleukin-8 (IL-8) were detected in cancer and TB effusions, but not in CHF. Surprisingly, the concentration of IL-8 correlated best with lymphocyte recruitment and not with neutrophil recruitment. Pleural fluid from cancer and TB patients was chemotactic for lymphocytes, and this activity was partly blocked by an anti-IL-8 antibody in cancer and completely blocked in TB. To determine whether there was the potential for a chemotactic gradient into the pleural space, pleural effusion cells were analyzed for the expression of IL-8. Cells in the effusions of cancer patients expressed IL-8, whereas IL-8 could not be detected from the cells of TB and CHF effusions. To explore the possible role of pleural macrophages in the regulation of IL-8, pleural effusion cells were treated with culture supernatants from stimulated pleural macrophages. Stimulated pleural macrophages were able to induce expression of messenger RNA (mRNA) for IL-8 and IL-8 protein production, and this activity was abrogated by blocking tumor necrosis factor-alpha. These findings suggest that soluble IL-8 is an important factor for the recruitment of lymphocytes into the pleural space, and that this cytokine is produced by both pleural structural and cancer cells after their activation by macrophage-derived, cytokine-mediated signals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Fluids / cytology
  • Body Fluids / metabolism
  • Chemotaxis, Leukocyte* / physiology
  • Heart Failure / pathology
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-8 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-8 / pharmacology*
  • Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • Macrophages / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Pleura / drug effects*
  • Pleura / metabolism
  • Pleura / pathology
  • Pleural Effusion / metabolism
  • Pleural Effusion / pathology
  • Pleural Effusion / physiopathology
  • Tuberculosis / pathology


  • Interleukin-8