High-mobility group protein B1 or HMGB1 is among the most important chromatin proteins. In the nucleus, HMGB1 interacts with nucleosomes, transcription factors, and histones. This nuclear protein organizes the DNA and regulates transcription.
It is released by activated macrophages, and serum levels increase significantly during endotoxaemia, sepsis, and arthritis with significant delayed kinetics in comparison with tumour necrosis factor (TNF) and interleukin-1beta. Recently identified biological activities of HMGB1 include activation of macrophages/monocytes to release proinflammatory cytokines, upregulation of endothelial adhesion molecules, stimulation of epithelial cell barrier failure, and mediation of fever and anorexia. Passive immunization with anti-HMGB1 antibodies confers significant protection against lethal endotoxaemia, sepsis, arthritis and lipopolysaccharide-induced acute lung injury.
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