Differential responsiveness of human bronchial epithelial cells, lung carcinoma cells, and bronchial fibroblasts to interferon-gamma in vitro.

Academic Article


  • The present study examines interferon-gamma (IFN gamma)-induced changes in the expression of immunomodulatory genes, proliferation-associated genes, and squamous-specific genes in primary cultures of human bronchial epithelial cells and fibroblasts. IFN gamma induced the expression of guanylate binding protein (GBP or p67) and the MHC class II antigen, HLADR alpha, in both epithelial cells and fibroblasts. In contrast, the expression of complement component C3 was induced in bronchial epithelial cells but not in fibroblasts. Similarly, IFN gamma induced growth arrest (EC50 approximately 50 U/ml) only in bronchial epithelial cells. This growth arrest was accompanied by a down-regulation of cdc2, E2F-1, and p53 mRNA levels and was associated with expression of the squamous-specific marker genes, transglutaminase type I and cornifin. These findings are consistent with IFN gamma inducing squamous differentiation in bronchial epithelial cells. In contrast, several lung carcinoma cell lines did not respond to IFN gamma with respect to the down-regulation of proliferation-associated genes or the induction of squamous-specific genes. However, GBP expression was induced in all the cell lines in response to IFN gamma. The present study demonstrates that cultured human bronchial epithelial cells are sensitive to the immunomodulatory, growth-inhibitory, and differentiation-inducing properties of IFN gamma. In contrast, several lung carcinoma cell lines are insensitive to the growth-inhibitory and differentiation-inducing actions of IFN gamma, suggesting they may have acquired defects in certain IFN gamma signaling pathways. Although the growth of human bronchial fibroblasts is not altered, expression of certain immunomodulatory genes is induced by IFN gamma.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Saunders NA; Smith RJ; Jetten AM
  • Start Page

  • 147
  • End Page

  • 152
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 2