Although peritoneal resident macrophages (PRM) or peritoneal exudate macrophages (PEM) were activated by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to kill tumor cells in vitro, lung macrophages (LM) obtained by mincing lung tissues or by harvesting bronchial lavage were not activated by LPS under any experimental conditions, i.e., different LPS concentrations, incubation times and cytotoxicity assay methods. The unresponsiveness of LM to LPS was seen in all of the mouse strains tested. Treatment of LM with indomethacin did not affect the unresponsiveness, although it greatly augmented the cytotoxicity of PRM stimulated with LPS. LM treated in vitro with crude lymphokines (LK) did not show cytotoxicity, but became sensitive to LPS and cytotoxic for tumor cells. LM treated first with crude LK and then with LPS were cytotoxic, but LM treated first with LPS and then with crude LK were not. The ability of crude LK to render LM responsive to LPS was neutralized by rabbit anti-mouse gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) antiserum but not by anti-mouse IFN-(alpha + beta) antiserum. LM treated with recombinant murine IFN-gamma became responsive to LPS and showed cytotoxicity. LM were resistant to direct toxicity of LPS under conditions in which significant populations of PRM and PEM died. However, LM became sensitive to direct toxicity of LPS by treatment with crude LK or recombinant murine IFN-gamma. Fluorescence microscopy showed that almost all PRM and PEM were stained with fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-LPS, while less than 5% of the LM were stained. Instead, approximately 60% of the LM treated with the crude LK or recombinant IFN-gamma for 20 h were stained with FITC-LPS. Fluorescence-activated cell sorter (FACS) analysis confirmed this result. The staining of IFN-gamma treated LM with FITC-LPS was inhibited by polymyxin B or unlabeled LPS. These results suggest that the defective responsiveness of LM to LPS is due to the lack or very low expression of LPS-binding sites on the cell surface and that in vitro treatment with IFN-gamma brings about the expression of them and renders LM responsive to LPS.

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