IFN-γ promotes THP-1 cell apoptosis during early infection with Mycobacterium bovis by activating different apoptotic signaling.

Research paper by Jiaoer J Zhang, Bin B Sun, Ying Y Huang, Mohammed M Kouadir, Xiangmei X Zhou, Yang Y Wang, Deming D Zhao

Indexed on: 30 Sep '10Published on: 30 Sep '10Published in: FEMS immunology and medical microbiology


Macrophage apoptosis represents an important innate defense mechanism against intracellular mycobacterial infection. Previous publications have shown that interferon-γ (IFN-γ) is involved in apoptosis of immune cells infected with mycobacteria. In this study, the impact of IFN-γ treatment on phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate-differentiated THP-1 cells infected with Mycobacterium bovis was investigated. The results showed that IFN-γ increased apoptosis of THP-1 cells infected with M. bovis at a low multiplicity of infection (MOI) in a time-dependent manner. The percentage of cells undergoing apoptosis in IFN-γ-treated THP-1 cells increased from 4.3% at 12 h to 36.5% at 72 h upon infection with an MOI of 10. Activation of caspases-3 and -8 increased 8.3- and 6.7-fold, respectively. Neutralizing endogenous tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) significantly inhibited IFN-γ-induced apoptosis of M. bovis-infected THP-1 cells. No significant change in IFN-γ-induced apoptosis was observed in M. bovis-infected cells after the addition of c-Jun N-terminal kinase and NF-κB pathways' inhibitors. Translocation of apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) to the nucleus of M. bovis-infected THP-1 cells was observed in 23.4% of IFN-γ-treated cells, compared with 11.0% in untreated cells. Taken together, these results suggest that IFN-γ promotes apoptosis of M. bovis-infected THP-1 cells during early infection through the TNF-α-mediated death receptor and the AIF apoptotic pathway.