SOCS3 deficiency promotes M1 macrophage polarization and inflammation

Academic Article


  • Macrophages participate in both the amplification of inflammation at the time of injury and downregulation of the inflammatory response to avoid excess tissue damage. These divergent functions of macrophages are dictated by their microenvironment, especially cytokines, which promote a spectrum of macrophage phenotypes. The M1 proinflammatory phenotype is induced by LPS, IFN-γ, and GM-CSF, and IL-4, IL-13, and M-CSF induce anti-inflammatory M2 macrophages. Suppressors of cytokine signaling (SOCS) proteins function as feedback inhibitors of the JAK/STAT signaling pathway, and they can terminate innate and adaptive immune responses. In this study, we have evaluated the influence of SOCS3 on macrophage polarization and function. Macrophages obtained from LysMCre-SOCS3fl/fl mice, which lack SOCS3 in myeloid lineage cells, exhibit enhanced and prolonged activation of the JAK/STAT pathway compared with macrophages from SOCS3fl/fl mice. Furthermore, SOCS3-deficient macrophages have higher levels of the M1 genes IL-1β, IL-6, IL-12, IL-23, and inducible NO synthase owing to enhanced transcriptional activation and chromatin modifications. SOCS3-deficient M1 macrophages also have a stronger capacity to induce Th1 and Th17 cell differentiation than M1 macrophages from SOCS3fl/fl mice. Lastly, LPS-induced sepsis is exacerbated in LysMCre-SOCS3fl/flmice and is associated with enhanced STAT1/3 activation and increased plasma levels of M1 cytokines/chemokines such as IL-1β, TNF-α, IL-6, CCL3, CCL4, and CXCL11. These findings collectively indicate that SOCS3 is involved in repressing the M1 proinflammatory phenotype, thereby deactivating inflammatory responses in macrophages. Copyright©2012 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Qin H; Holdbrooks AT; Liu Y; Reynolds SL; Yanagisawa LL; Benveniste EN
  • Start Page

  • 3439
  • End Page

  • 3448
  • Volume

  • 189
  • Issue

  • 7