Dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine modulates inflammatory functions of monocytic cells independently of mitogen activated protein kinases

Clin Exp Immunol. 2001 Apr;124(1):86-94. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2249.2001.01479.x.


Phosphatidylcholine (PC) is the major phospholipid of pulmonary surfactant and it is hypothesized that PC and its subspecies modulate the functions of alveolar macrophages. The most abundant of these subspecies is dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC). This study was undertaken to determine the effect of PC on monocyte function using a human monocytic cell line, MonoMac-6 (MM6). This study showed that preincubation of MM6 cells with DPPC at 125 microg/ml for 2 h inhibited the oxidative response to either zymosan or phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate (PMA) by 30% (P < 0.001). This inhibition with DPPC was independent of LPS priming. When DPPC was replaced with 1-palmitoyl-2-arachidonoyl phosphatidylcholine (PAPC) there was no inhibition and in contrast a significant increase in oxidant production was observed. We also demonstrated that total PC (tPC; a heterogeneous species of PC from egg) and DPPC but not PAPC significantly inhibited the release of TNF-alpha from MM6 cells (P < 0.05). DPPC did not inhibit phosphorylation of the mitogen activated protein kinases (MAPKs) p44/p42 or p38 in stimulated cells. Measurements of membrane fluidity with spin label EPR spectroscopy indicate that DPPC incorporation significantly alters the membrane fluidity of MM6 cells. These results suggest that DPPC, the major component of pulmonary surfactant, may play a role in modulating leucocyte inflammatory responses in the lung. This may in part be related to membrane effects but does not include alterations in p44/p42 or p38 MAPK signalling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 1,2-Dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine / metabolism
  • 1,2-Dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Luminescent Measurements
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System*
  • Membrane Lipids / metabolism
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1 / metabolism
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Monocytes / drug effects*
  • Monocytes / metabolism
  • Phospholipids / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational / drug effects
  • Pulmonary Surfactants / physiology
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate / pharmacology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism
  • Zymosan / pharmacology
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases


  • Membrane Lipids
  • Phospholipids
  • Pulmonary Surfactants
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • 1,2-Dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine
  • Zymosan
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate