Bacterial heat shock proteins (HSPs) from Escherichia coli (GroES, GroEL, and DNAk) were tested for their ability to induce by themselves the expression and release of interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), and granulocyte-monocyte colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) by human monocytes and GM-CSF, IL-6, E-selectin, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) by human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC). Our study demonstrated that treatment of monocytes with DNAk increased IL-6, TNF-alpha, and GM-CSF release in a dose-dependent manner. The same effect was elicited by GroEL but at a lower rate. Treatment of HUVEC cultures with DNAk and GroEL also increased GM-CSF, IL-6, E-selectin, ICAM-1, and VCAM-1 release in a dose-dependent fashion. In any case, the greatest release was obtained by using DNAk and GroEL at a concentration of 1 microg/ml. DNAk and GroEL were also able to up-regulate the surface expression of E-selectin, ICAM-1, and VCAM-1. As detected by reverse transcription-PCR analysis, DNAk and GroEL also increased the steady-state levels of cytokines and adhesion molecules in human monocytes and endothelial cells. In our study GroES showed a significant activity only on the release, surface expression, and mRNA transcription of E-selectin. Adhesion molecule expression seems to be a direct effect of HSPs and not via cytokines. Furthermore, these effects are due to HSPs properties because they are inhibited by specific monoclonal antibodies. These findings support the potential role of HSPs in modulating cell interactions during immunological and inflammatory responses
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