Role of interleukin-8 and growth-regulated oncogene-α in the chemotactic migration of all-trans retinoic acid-treated promyelocytic leukemic cells toward alveolar epithelial cells*

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Although all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) can treat acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), it also causes retinoic acid syndrome with presentations similar to acute respiratory distress syndrome. We investigated the role of interleukin (IL)-8 and growth-regulated oncogene (GRO)-α in the chemotactic transmigration of ATRA-treated NB4 (ATRA-NB4) APL cells toward A549 alveolar epithelial cells.


An in vitro human cell culture study.


University hospital research laboratories.


NB4 and A549 cells.


NB4 and A549 cells were separately cultured with ATRA and/or dexamethasone for 1–3 days. NB4 or ATRA-NB4 cells were then placed in an upper insert and co-incubated with A549 cells or their conditioned medium located in a lower plate.

Measurements and Main Results:

ATRA stimulated NB4 cells to transmigrate toward the A549 cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Replacement of A459 condition medium by its original medium abrogated this transmigration. Only A549 cells constitutively secreted GRO-α, and both A549 and NB4 cells constitutively secreted IL-8, which was enhanced by ATRA. Exogenous administration of IL-8 or GRO-α also promoted the ATRA-NB4 transmigration. The binding assay demonstrated that ATRA-NB4 cells bound IL-8, but not GRO-α, more avidly. Pretreatment with antibodies directed against IL-8 and GRO-α receptors reduced ATRA-NB4 transmigration by about 60%. Dexamethasone did not suppress their IL-8 secretion and transmigration in ATRA-NB4 cells, but when applied to A549 cells, IL-8 secretion was suppressed but not GRO-α secretion, and there was attenuation of ATRA-NB4 transmigration.


IL-8 and GRO-α secreted from alveolar epithelial cells play an important role in the cell-cell interaction involved in the chemotactic transmigration of ATRA-treated APL cells toward alveolar epithelial cells.

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