Interleukin-1 alpha (IL-1 alpha) production by alveolar macrophages in patients with acute lung diseases: the influence of zinc supplementation

Mol Cell Biochem. 1995 May 24;146(2):139-45. doi: 10.1007/BF00944606.


The relationship between zinc treatment and interleukin-1 alpha (IL-1 alpha) production by cultured alveolar macrophages (AM) in patients with pulmonary tuberculosis and bacterial pneumonia was investigated. AM (1 x 10(6) cells/ml) from 6 patients with pulmonary tuberculosis, 7 patients with bacterial pneumonia and 4 healthy volunteers were cultured with either two different concentrations of zinc chloride (Znl = 1 microgram/ml and Zn2 = 5 micrograms/ml) or cell culture media alone (control) for an initial period of 6 hours and then stimulated with 3 different immunomodulator agents and reincubated for a further 24 h. IL-1 alpha in culture supernatants was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). In the absence of Znl or Zn2 Polyinosinic:Polycytidylic acid (Poly I:C 1 microgram/ml), Lipopolysaccharide (LPS 100 ng/ml) and Tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha 10 ng/ml) significantly increased the production of IL-1 alpha from AM in both patients and healthy subjects (p < 0.001) compared to control (media only). Zn1 and Zn2 significantly increased the production of IL-1 alpha (p < 0.001) in culture supernatants in the absence of either Poly I:C, LPS or TNF-alpha in patients but not in healthy group. In contrast, the presence of LPS or TNF-alpha significantly reduced Zn1 or Zn2-stimulated release of IL-1 alpha from AM in patients and healthy subjects (p < 0.01). However, Poly I:C decreased only Zn1-stimulated release of IL-1 alpha. These results suggest that zinc can regulate the production of IL-1 alpha from AM in patients with pulmonary tuberculosis or bacterial pneumonia.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dinoprostone / biosynthesis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Interleukin-1 / biosynthesis*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / drug effects*
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / immunology*
  • Male
  • Metallothionein / biosynthesis
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / drug therapy*
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / immunology*
  • Poly I-C / pharmacology
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / drug therapy*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / immunology*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / pharmacology
  • Zinc / pharmacology*


  • Interleukin-1
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Metallothionein
  • Zinc
  • Dinoprostone
  • Poly I-C