Mediators of monocyte activity in inflammation

  • Kevin J. Woollard

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


C-reactive protein (CRP) is the prototypic acute phase serum protein in humans. CRP is currently one of the best markers of inflammatory disease and disease activity. One of the keys cells involved in inflammation within chronic inflammatory diseases is the monocyte. Monocytes are able to modulate inflammation through cytokine expression, cytosolic peroxide formation, adhesion molecule expression and subsequent adhesion/migration to sites of inflammation.
CRP has been previously shown to bind directly to monocytes through Fc receptors. However this observation is not conclusive and requires further investigation. The effects of incubation of CRP with human primary and monocytic cell lines were examined using monocytic cytokine expression, adhesion molecule expression and adhesion to endothelial cells and intracellular peroxide formation, as end points. Monocytic intracellular signalling events were investigated after interaction of CRP with specific CRP receptors on monocytes. These initial signalling events were examined for their role in modulating
monocytic adhesion molecule and cytokine expression.
Monocyte recruitment and retention in the vasculature is also influenced by oxidative stress. Therefore the effect of 6 weeks of antioxidant intervention in vivo was examined on monocytic adhesion molecule expression, adhesion to endothelial cells ex vivo and on serum CRP concentrations, pre- and post- supplementation with the antioxidants vitamin C and vitaInin E.
In summary, CRP is able to bind FcγRIIa. CRP binding FcγR initiates an intracellular signalling cascade that phosphorylates the non-receptor tyrosine kinase, Syk, associated with intracellular tyrosine activating motifs on the cytoplasmic tail of Fcγ receptors. CRP incubations increased phosphatidyl inositol turnover and Syk phosphorylation ultimately lead to Ca2+ mobilisation in monocytes. CRP mediated Syk phosphorylation in monocytes leads to an increase in CD 11b and IL-6 expression. CRP engagement with monocytes also leads to an increase in peroxide production, which can be inhibited in vitro using the
antioxidants α-tocopherol and ascorbic acid. CRP mediated CD 11b expression is not redox regulated by CRP mediated changes in cytosolic peroxides. The FcyRIla polymorphism at codon 131 effects the phenotypic driven changes described in monocytes by CRP, where R/R allotypes have a greater increase in CD11b, in response to CRP, which may be involved in promoting the monocytic inflammatory response. CRP leads to an increase in the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which alters the immune phenotype of circulating monocytes. Vitamin C supplementation reduced monocytic adhesion to endothelial cells, but had no effect on serum levels of CRP. Where long-term
antioxidant intervention may provide benefit from the risk of developing vascular
inflammatory disease, by reducing monocytic adhesion to the vasculature.
In conclusion CRP appears to be much more than just a marker of ongoing inflammation or associated inflammatory disease and disease activity. This data suggests that at pathophysiological concentrations, CRP may be able to directly modulate inflammation through interacting with monocytes and thereby alter the inflammatory response associated with vascular inflammatory diseases.
Date of AwardJul 2003
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorHelen R Griffiths (Supervisor)


  • Mediators
  • monocyte activity
  • inflammation

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