Investigating the role of TNF-α and IFN-γ activation on the dynamics of iNOS gene expression in lps stimulated macrophages

Taha Salim, Cheryl L. Sershen, Elebeoba E. May

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


Macrophage produced inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) is known to play a critical role in the proinflammatory response against intracellular pathogens by promoting the generation of bactericidal reactive nitrogen species. Robust and timely production of nitric oxide (NO) by iNOS and analogous production of reactive oxygen species are critical components of an effective immune response. In addition to pathogen associated lipopolysaccharides (LPS), iNOS gene expression is dependent on numerous proinflammatory cytokines in the cellular microenvironment of the macrophage, two of which include interferon gamma (IFN-γ) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α). To understand the synergistic effect of IFN-γ and TNF-α activation, and LPS stimulation on iNOS expression dynamics and NO production, we developed a systems biology based mathematical model. Using our model, we investigated the impact of pre-infection cytokine exposure, or priming, on the system. We explored the essentiality of IFN-γ priming to the robustness of initial proinflammatory response with respect to the ability of macrophages to produce reactive species needed for pathogen clearance. Results from our theoretical studies indicated that IFN-γ and subsequent activation of IRF1 are essential in consequential production of iNOS upon LPS stimulation. We showed that IFN-γ priming at low concentrations greatly increases the effector response of macrophages against intracellular pathogens. Ultimately the model demonstrated that although TNF-α contributed towards a more rapid response time, measured as time to reach maximum iNOS production, IFN-γ stimulation was significantly more significant in terms of the maximum expression of iNOS and the concentration of NO produced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0153289
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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