TNF-α inhibits macrophage clearance of apoptotic cells via cytosolic phospholipase A2 and oxidant-dependent mechanisms

Kathleen McPhillips, William J. Janssen, Moumita Ghosh, Aideen Byrne, Shyra Gardai, Linda Remigio, Donna L. Bratton, Jihee L. Kang, Peter Henson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Removal of apoptotic cells from inflammatory sites is an important step in the resolution of inflammation. Both murine and human macrophages stimulated with TNF-α or directly administered arachidonic acid showed an impaired ability to ingest apoptotic cells (efferocytosis). The inhibition was shown to be due to generation of reactive oxygen species, was blocked with a superoxide dismutase mimetic, MnTBAP, and was mimicked by direct addition of H 2O2. To determine the mechanism of TNF-α-stimulated oxidant production, bone marrow-derived macrophages from gp91 phox-deficient mice were examined but shown to still produce oxidants and exhibit defective apoptotic cell uptake. In contrast, a specific cytosolic phospholipase A2 inhibitor blocked the oxidant production and reversed the inhibited uptake. The suppressive effect of endogenous or exogenous oxidants on efferocytosis was mediated through activation of the GTPase, Rho. It was reversed in macrophages pretreated with C3 transferase to inactivate Rho or with an inhibitor of Rho kinase. During maturation of human monocyte-derived macrophages, only mature cells exhibited TNF-α-induced suppression of apoptotic cell clearance. The resistance of immature macrophages to such inhibition was shown to result not from defective generation of oxidants, but rather, from lack of response of these cells to the oxidants. Overall, the data suggest that macrophages in a TNF-α- and oxidant-rich inflammatory environment are less able to remove apoptotic cells and, thereby, may contribute to the local intensity of the inflammatory response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8117-8126
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2007


Dive into the research topics of 'TNF-α inhibits macrophage clearance of apoptotic cells via cytosolic phospholipase A2 and oxidant-dependent mechanisms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this