Inhibition of SIK2 and SIK3 during differentiation enhances the anti-inflammatory phenotype of macrophages

Nicola J. Darling, Rachel Toth, J. Simon C. Arthur, Kristopher Clark (Lead / Corresponding author)

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The Salt-Inducible Kinases (SIKs) control a novel molecular switch regulating macrophage polarization. Pharmacological inhibition of the SIKs induces a macrophage phenotype characterized by the secretion of high levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines including IL-10 and the secretion of very low levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNFα. The SIKs therefore represent attractive new drug targets for the treatment of macrophage-driven diseases, but which of the three isoforms, SIK1, SIK2 or SIK3 would be appropriate to target remains unknown. To address this question, we developed knock-in (KI) mice for SIK1, SIK2 and SIK3 in which we introduced a mutation that renders the enzymes catalytically-inactive. Characterization of primary macrophages from the single and double KI mice established that all three SIK isoforms, and in particular SIK2 and SIK3, contribute to macrophage polarization. Moreover, we discovered that inhibition of SIK2 and SIK3 during macrophage differentiation greatly enhanced the production of
IL-10 compared to their inhibition in mature macrophages. Interestingly, macrophages differentiated in the presence of SIK inhibitors, MRT199665 and HG-9-91-01, still produced very large amounts of IL-10, but very low levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, even after the SIKs had been reactivated by removal of the drugs. Our data highlight an integral role for SIK2 and SIK3 in innate immunity by preventing the differentiation of macrophages into a potent and stable antiinflammatory phenotype.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-537
Number of pages17
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number4
Early online date5 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2017


  • Salt-Inducible Kinase
  • macrophage
  • IL-10
  • inflammation
  • TNF-α
  • HF-9-91-01


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