Intracellular glutathione status regulates mouse bone marrow monocyte-derived macrophage differentiation and phagocytic activity

Jin Man Kim, Hyunsoo Kim, Soon Bok Kwon, Soo Young Lee, Sung Chang Chung, Dae Won Jeong, Byung Moo Min

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35 Scopus citations


Although a redox shift can regulate the development of cells, including proliferation, differentiation, and survival, the role of the glutathione (GSH) redox status in macrophage differentiation remains unclear. In order to elucidate the role of a redox shift, macrophage-like cells were differentiated from the bone marrow-derived monocytes that were treated with a macrophage colony stimulating factor (M-CSF or CSF-1) for 3 days. The macrophagic cells were characterized by a time-dependent increase in three major symptoms: the number of phagocytic cells, the number of adherent cells, and the mRNA expression of c-fms, a M-CSF receptor that is one of the macrophage-specific markers and mediates development signals. Upon M-CSF-driven macrophage differentiation, the GSH/GSSG ratio was significantly lower on day 1 than that observed on day 0 but was constant on days 1-3. To assess the effect of the GSH-depleted and -repleted status on the differentiation and phagocytosis of the macrophages, GSH depletion by BSO, a specific inhibitor of the de novo GSH synthesis, inhibited the formation of the adherent macrophagic cells by the down-regulation of c-fms, but did not affect the phagocytic activity of the macrophages. To the contrary, GSH repletion by the addition of NAC, which is a GSH precursor, or reduced GSH in media had no effect on macrophage differentiation, and led to a decrease in the phagocytic activity. Furthermore, we observed that there is checkpoint that is capable of releasing from the inhibition of the formation of the adherent macrophagic cells according to GSH depletion by BSO. Summarizing, these results indicate that the intracellular GSH status plays an important role in the differentiation and phagocytosis of macrophages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-108
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 3 Dec 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by Grant 01-PJ5-PG1-01CH12-0002 from the Korea Health 21 R&D Project, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Republic of Korea (to B.-M.M.).


  • Cell differentiation
  • GSH/GSSG ratio
  • Macrophages
  • Phagocytosis
  • Redox state


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