PGE2 enhanced TNFα-mediated IL-8 induction in monocytic cell lines and PBMC

Cytokine. 2019 Jan:113:105-116. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2018.06.020. Epub 2018 Jun 19.


Background & purpose: Recent studies suggested a role of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) in the expression of the chemokine IL-8 by monocytes. The function of EP4 receptor for TNFα-induced IL-8 expression was studied in monocytic cell lines.

Experimental approach: IL-8 mRNA and protein induction as well as IL-8 promoter activity and transcription factor activation were assessed in monocytic cell lines, primary blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and transgenic HEK293 cells expressing the EP4 receptor.

Key results: In monocytic cell lines THP-1, MonoMac and U937 PGE2 had only a marginal impact on IL-8 induction but strongly enhanced TNFα-induced IL-8 mRNA and protein synthesis. Similarly, in PBMC IL-8 mRNA induction was larger by simultaneous stimulation with TNFα and PGE2 than by either stimulus alone. The EP4 receptor subtype was the most abundant EP receptor in all three cell lines and in PBMC. Stimulation of THP-1 cells with an EP4 specific agonist enhanced TNFα-induced IL-8 mRNA and protein formation to the same extent as PGE2. In HEK293 cells expressing EP4, but not in wild type HEK293 cells lacking EP4, PGE2 enhanced TNFα-induced IL-8 protein and mRNA synthesis. In THP-1 cells, the enhancement of TNFα-mediated IL-8 mRNA induction by PGE2 was mimicked by a PKA-activator. Furthermore in these cells PGE2 induced expression of transcription factor C/EBPß, enhanced NF-κB activation by TNFα and inhibited TNFα-mediated AP-1 activation. PGE2 and TNFα synergistically activated transcription factor CREB, induced C/EBPß expression and enhanced the activity of an IL-8 promoter fragment containing -223 bp upstream of the transcription start site.

Conclusions and implications: These findings suggest that a combined stimulation of TNFα and PGE2/EP4 signal chains in monocytic cells leads to maximal IL-8 promoter activity, as well as IL-8 mRNA and protein induction, by activating the PKA/CREB/C/EBPß as well as NF-κB signal chains.

Keywords: IL-8 transcription; Monocyte; Prostaglandin receptor EP4; Signal transduction; Tumor necrosis factor alpha.

MeSH terms

  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-beta / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein / metabolism
  • Dinoprostone / pharmacology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-8 / metabolism*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / drug effects*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism
  • Monocytes / drug effects*
  • Monocytes / metabolism
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptors, Prostaglandin E, EP4 Subtype / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • THP-1 Cells / drug effects
  • THP-1 Cells / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism*
  • U937 Cells


  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-beta
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein
  • Interleukin-8
  • NF-kappa B
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Prostaglandin E, EP4 Subtype
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Dinoprostone