Retinal pigment epithelial cells produce interleukin-1 beta and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor in response to interleukin-1 alpha

Curr Eye Res. 1993 Mar;12(3):205-12. doi: 10.3109/02713689308999465.


The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is clinically involved in diverse ocular inflammatory diseases. Because perturbed RPE cells produce a variety of inflammatory substances, RPE cells may play an integral part in these diseases. Interleukin-1 (IL-1) and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) are pleiotropic cytokines with the ability to trigger numerous inflammatory responses. This report shows that cultured human RPE cells synthesize interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta) and GM-CSF in response to the potentially inflammatory cytokine, IL-1 alpha, but not to E. coli endotoxin. Control RPE cells made little or no mRNA or protein for either IL-1 beta or GM-CSF. Upon stimulation of the cells by IL-1 alpha, both IL-1 beta and GM-CSF mRNAs were readily apparent by 3 hours, persisted for over 24 hours, and were translated into immunologically detectable proteins. GM-CSF protein was secreted into the culture medium, whereas IL-1 beta protein remained cell associated. The IL-1 alpha-induced mRNA and protein production were inhibited by dexamethasone. These observations provide additional evidence that RPE cells are capable of playing a pivotal role during ocular inflammation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Northern
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Culture Media
  • Dexamethasone / pharmacology
  • Endotoxins / pharmacology
  • Escherichia coli
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / biosynthesis*
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / genetics
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Interleukin-1 / biosynthesis*
  • Interleukin-1 / genetics
  • Interleukin-1 / pharmacology
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / immunology*
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / drug effects


  • Culture Media
  • Endotoxins
  • Interleukin-1
  • RNA, Messenger
  • endotoxin, Escherichia coli
  • Dexamethasone
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor