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J Immunol. 2000 Mar 15;164(6):3222-8.

p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase and c-jun-NH2-terminal kinase regulate RANTES production by influenza virus-infected human bronchial epithelial cells.

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  • 1First Department of Internal Medicine and Department of Microbiology, Nihon University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.


Airway epithelial cells which are the initial site of influenza virus (IV) infection are suggested to participate in airway inflammatory response by expressing various cytokines including RANTES; however, the intracellular signal that regulates RANTES expression has not been determined. In the present study, we examined the role of p38 mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase, extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk), and c-Jun-NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) in RANTES production by IV-infected human bronchial epithelial cells. The results showed that IV infection induced increases in p38 MAP kinase, and Erk and JNK phosphorylation and activity. SB 203580, PD 98059, and CEP-1347 attenuated IV-infection induced p38 MAP kinase activity, Erk activity, and JNK activity, respectively. SB 203580 and CEP-1347 attenuated RANTES production by 45.3% and 45.2%, respectively, but a combination of these inhibitors additively attenuated by 69.1%. In contrast, PD 98059 did not attenuate. Anti-IL-1alpha mAb, anti-IL-1beta mAb, anti-TNF-alpha mAb, anti-IL-8 mAb, anti-IFN-beta mAb, anti-RANTES mAb, and a combination of these mAbs did not affect IV infection-induced increases in p38 MAP kinase, Erk, and JNK phosphorylation, indicating that each cytokine neutralized by corresponding Ab was not involved in IV infection-induced phosphorylation of MAP kinases. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) did not affect IV infection-induced increases in MAP kinase phosphorylation, whereas NAC attenuated RANTES production by 18.2%, indicating that reactive oxygen species may act as a second messenger leading to RANTES production via p38 MAP kinase- and JNK-independent pathway. These results indicate that p38 MAP kinase and JNK, at least in part, regulate RANTES production by bronchial epithelial cells.

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