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Plasticity of Human THP-1 Cell Phagocytic Activity during Macrophagic Differentiation

A. V. Kurynina1, M. V. Erokhina1,2*, O. A. Makarevich3, V. Yu. Sysoeva3, L. N. Lepekha2, S. A. Kuznetsov4, and G. E. Onishchenko1

1Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of Biology, 119991 Moscow, Russia; E-mail: masha.erokhina@gmail.com, erokhinam@bk.ru

2Central Tuberculosis Research Institute, 107564 Moscow, Russia

3Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of Fundamental Medicine, 119192 Moscow, Russia

4Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Rostock, 18051 Rostock, Germany

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received September 21, 2017; Revision received October 23, 2017
Studies of the role of macrophages in phagocytosis are of great theoretical and practical importance for understanding how these cells are involved in the organism’s defense response and in the development of various pathologies. Here we investigated phagocytic plasticity of THP-1 (acute monocytic human leukemia) cells at different stages (days 1, 3, and 7) of phorbol ester (PMA)-induced macrophage differentiation. Analysis of cytokine profiles showed that PMA at a concentration of 100 nM induced development of the proinflammatory macrophage population. The functional activity of macrophages was assessed on days 3 and 7 of differentiation using unlabeled latex beads and latex beads conjugated with ligands (gelatin, mannan, and IgG Fc fragment) that bind to the corresponding specific receptors. The general phagocytic activity increased significantly (1.5-2.0-fold) in the course of differentiation; phagocytosis occurred mostly through the Fc receptors, as shown previously for M1 macrophages. On day 7, the levels of phagocytosis of gelatin- and Fc-covered beads were high; however, the intensity of ingestion of mannan-conjugated beads via mannose receptors increased 2.5-3.0-fold as well, which indicated formation of cells with an alternative phenotype similar to that of M2 macrophages. Thus, the type and the plasticity of phagocytic activity at certain stages of macrophage differentiation can be associated with the formation of functionally mature morphological phenotype. This allows macrophages to exhibit their phagocytic potential in response to specific ligands. These data are of fundamental importance and can be used to develop therapeutic methods for correcting the M1/M2 macrophage ratio in an organism.
KEY WORDS: proinflammatory macrophages, antiinflammatory macrophages, macrophage plasticity, phagocytosis, cell differentiation, functionally mature phenotype

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297918030021