Macrophages eliminate apoptotic granulocytes before their secondary necrosis during resolution of inflammation. A well-known glucocorticoid, the anti-inflammatory dexamethasone augments phagocytosis capacity of macrophages with a so far not fully clarified mechanism. We have found that sialylation of cell-surface proteins on human macrophages is markedly altered by dexamethasone. Compared to non-treated cells, dexamethasone-treated macrophages can bind significantly less Sambucus nigra lectin specific for sialic acids on their surfaces as a result of undersialylation of annexin-II and an HLA-II protein. Non-treated macrophages covered by S. nigra lectin had increased uptake of apoptotic cells; however, the significantly higher phagocytosis capacity of dexamethasone-treated macrophages could not be stimulated further this way. Our results suggest that dexamethasone treatment leads to decreased number of sialic acids on the surfaces of human macrophages promoting recognition and uptake of apoptotic cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy