PloS one 2016 Nov 911(11) e0166006 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0166006
Upon inflammation, circulating monocytes leave the bloodstream and migrate into the tissues, where they differentiate after exposure to various growth factors, cytokines or infectious agents. The best defined macrophage polarization types are M1 and M2. However, the platelet-derived CXC chemokine CXCL4 induces the polarization of macrophages into a unique phenotype. In this study, we compared the effect of CXCL4 and its variant CXCL4L1 on the differentiation of monocytes into macrophages and into immature monocyte-derived dendritic cells (iMDDC). Differently to M-CSF and CXCL4, CXCL4L1 is not a survival factor for monocytes. Moreover, the expression of the chemokine receptors CCR2, CCR5 and CXCR3 was significantly higher on CXCL4L1-treated monocytes compared to M-CSF- and CXCL4-stimulated monocytes. IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RN) expression was upregulated by CXCL4 and downregulated by CXCL4L1, respectively, whereas both chemokines reduced the expression of the mannose receptor (MRC). Furthermore, through activation of CXCR3, CXCL4L1-stimulated monocytes released significantly higher amounts of CCL2 and CXCL8 compared to CXCL4-treated monocytes, indicating more pronounced inflammatory traits for CXCL4L1. In contrast, in CXCL4L1-treated monocytes, the production of CCL22 was lower. Compared to iMDDC generated in the presence of CXCL4L1, CXCL4-treated iMDDC showed an enhanced phagocytic capacity and downregulation of expression of certain surface markers (e.g. CD1a) and specific enzymes (e.g. MMP-9 and MMP-12). CXCL4 and CXCL4L1 did not affect the chemokine receptor expression on iMDDC and cytokine production (CCL2, CCL18, CCL22, CXCL8, IL-10) by CXCL4- or CXCL4L1-differentiated iMDDC was similar. We can conclude that both CXCL4 and CXCL4L1 exert a direct effect on monocytes and iMDDC. However, the resulting phenotypes are different, which suggests a unique role for the two CXCL4 variants in physiology and/or pathology.