Caseins are major constituents of mammalian milks that are thought to be exclusively expressed in mammary glands and to function primarily as a protein source, as well as to ameliorate intestinal calcium uptake. In addition, proinflammatory and immunomodulatory properties have been reported for bovine caseins. Our aim was to investigate whether human casein α s1 (CSN1S1) is expressed outside the mammary gland and possesses immunomodulatory functions in humans as well. For this purpose, CSN1S1 mRNA was detected in primary human monocytes and CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, but not in CD19 + B cells. CSN1S1 protein was traceable in supernatants of cultured primary human CD14+ monocytes by ELISA. Similarly, CSN1S1 mRNA and protein were detected in the human monocytic cell lines HL60, U937, and THP1 but not in Mono Mac 6 cells. Moreover, permeabilized human monocytes and HL60 cells could be stained by immunofluorescence, indicating intracellular expression. Recombinant human CSN1S1 was bound to the surface of Mono Mac 6 cells and upregulated the expression of GM-CSF mRNA in primary human monocytes and Mono Mac 6 cells in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. A similar increase in GM-CSF protein was found in the culture supernatants. CSN1S1-dependent upregulation of GM-CSF was specifically blocked by the addition of the p38 MAPK inhibitor ML3403. Our results indicated that human CSN1S1 may possess an immunomodulatory role beyond its nutritional function in milk. It is expressed in human monocytes and stimulates the expression of the proinflammatory cytokine GM-CSF. Copyright © 2010 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.


Biological Sciences

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Free Access

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1550-6606; 0022-1767

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Article - Journal

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© 2023 American Association of Immunologists, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2011

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