The ability of neutrophils (PMN) to undergo a prolonged respiratory burst in response to cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF) depends on expression of CD11/CD18 (beta 2) integrins and interaction with matrix protein-coated surfaces (Nathan, C., S. Srimal, C. Farber, E. Sanchez, L. Kabbash, A. Asch, J. Gailit, and S. D. Wright. 1989. J. Cell Biol. 109:1341-1349). We tested the hypothesis that changes in cAMP mediate the joint action of cytokines and integrins. When plated on FBS- or fibrinogen-coated surfaces, PMN responded to TNF with a sustained fall in intracellular cAMP. This did not occur without TNF; in suspended PMN; in PMN treated with anti-CD18 mAb; or in PMN genetically deficient in beta 2 integrins. A preceding fall in cAMP appeared essential for TNF to induce a respiratory burst, because drugs that elevate cAMP blocked the burst if added any time before, but not after, its onset. Adenosine analogues and cytochalasins also block the TNF-induced respiratory burst if added before, but not after, its onset. Both also blocked the TNF-induced fall in cAMP. The effect of cytochalasins led us to examine the relationship between cAMP and actin reorganization. The same conditions that led to a sustained fall in cAMP led at the same time to cell spreading and the assembly of actin filaments. As with the respiratory burst, cAMP-elevating agents inhibited TNF-induced cell spreading and actin filament assembly if added before, but not after, spreading began. Thus, occupation of TNF receptors and engagement of CD18 integrins interact synergistically in PMN to promote a fall in cAMP. The fall in cAMP is closely related to cell spreading and actin reorganization. These changes are necessary for TNF to induce a prolonged respiratory burst. We conclude that integrins can act jointly with cytokines to affect cell shape and function through alterations in the level of a second messenger, cAMP.

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