Human CD93, a receptor for complement component 1, subcomponent q phagocytosis (C1qRp), has been shown to be selectively expressed by cells of a myeloid lineage and was originally reported to be involved in the C1q-mediated enhancement of phagocytosis in innate and adaptive immune responses. The modulation of CD93 expression has been investigated in various cells, particularly in granulocytes and monocytes . We previously reported that a protein kinase C activator (PKC), phorbol myristate acetate (PMA), effectively up-regulated CD93 expression on several cultured cell lines and that its regulation was mainly controlled by a PKC delta-isoenzyme. However, the expression pattern of CD93 in myeloid cells with apoptotic properties remains poorly understood. In this study, we examined the modulation of CD93 expression on a human monocyte-like cell line (U937) treated with various apoptosis-inducing chemical substances : an RNA-synthesis inhibitor, actinomycin D (ActD); a DNA topoisomerase I inhibitor, camptothecin (CPT); a protein-synthesis inhibitor, cycloheximide (CHX); a DNA topoisomerase II inhibitor, etoposide (EPS); and a DNA-synthesis inhibitor, mitomycin C (MMC). Apoptosis was monitored using two-color flow cytometry with Annexin V and 7-amino actinomycin D (7AAD). The above-mentioned substances sufficiently induced the early and late stages of apoptosis, identified as Annexin V positive (+)/7AAD negative (-) cells and Annexin V positive (+)/7AAD positive (+) cells, respectively, in U937 cells after 6 hr of treatment. The modulation of CD93 expression on U937 cells during the early stage of apoptosis, gated as Annexin V positive (+)/7AAD negative (-) cells, was then investigated using a CD93 mAb (mNI-11), originally established in our laboratories, and flow cytometry using a fluorescence-activated cell sorter (FACS). The mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) of the cells that stained positive for CD93 mAb (mNI-11) among the treated U937 cells showed a dramatic decrease in expression. In addition, the expressions of HLA-class I (HLA-A, B, C), HLA-class II (HLA-DR), CD18 (lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1 beta; LFA-1beta) and CD54 (intercellular adhesion molecule-1; ICAM-1) were also markedly decreased on the treated U937 cells identified as Annexin V positive (+)/7AAD negative (-) cells (early stage of apoptosis). Interestingly, the expression patterns of CD93 on the U937 cells treated with the above-mentioned chemical substances closely resembled those of HLA-class I (HLA-A, B, C). An immunoblotting analysis showed that the expression of a surface antigen (molecular size, about 97 kDa) targeted by the CD93 mAb (mNI-11) on the U937 cells treated with various apoptosis-inducing chemical substances had clearly decreased. On the other hand, an enzyme-linked immunoassay (EIA) showed that although PMA-treated U937 cells had strongly secreted soluble CD93 (sCD93) into the culture supernatant, the secretion of sCD93 in the culture supernatant of the U937 cells treated with the above-mentioned chemical substances was not enhanced, compared with that of untreated U937 cells. Importantly, however , the U937 cells with apoptotic properties induced by various apoptosis-inducing chemical substances also rapidly (in 30 min) and strongly secreted sCD93 into the culture supernatant in the presence of PMA. Taken together, these findings indicate that the expression of the CD93 molecule identified by CD93 mAb (mNI-11) is dramatically decreased on U937 cells with apoptotic properties, and that the decrease in CD93 expression on U937 cells treated with apoptosis-inducing chemical substances may be a good model for analyzing the regulation of CD93 expression on apoptotic myeloid cells.