Inflammatory microcrystals induce murine macrophage survival and DNA synthesis.
The interaction of particulates with resident macrophages is a consistent feature in certain forms of crystal-induced inflammation, for example, in synovial tissues, lung, and the peritoneum. The mitogenic activity of basic calcium phosphate (BCP) crystals and calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate (CPPD) crystals on synovial fibroblasts has been considered relevant to the synovial hyperplasia observed in crystal-induced arthritis. The aim of the study was to determine whether microcrystals such as these could enhance macrophage survival and induce DNA synthesis, thus indicating that they may contribute to the tissue hyperplasia. Murine bone-marrow-derived macrophages were treated in vitro with microcrystals, the cell numbers were monitored over time, and DNA synthesis was measured as the incorporation of [methyl-(3)H]thymidine (TdR). We report here that BCP, monosodium urate, talc, and, to a lesser extent, CPPD crystals promote macrophage survival and DNA synthesis; the latter response is particularly striking in the presence of low concentrations of macrophage-colony stimulating factor (M-CSF, CSF-1). Enhanced macrophage survival or proliferation may contribute to the synovial hyperplasia noted in crystal-associated arthropathies, as well as to talc-induced inflammation and granuloma formation. The crystals studied join the list of particulates having these effects on macrophages, indicating the generality of this type of response.