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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2000 Jul;23(1):86-94.

Mitogen-activated protein kinases regulate cytokine gene expression in human airway myocytes.

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  • 1Cell and Molecular Biology Program, Department of Pharmacology, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno, Nevada, USA.


The signal transduction pathways regulating smooth-muscle gene expression and production of cytokines in response to proinflammatory mediators are undefined. Cultured human bronchial smooth-muscle cells were treated for 20 h with a cytokine cocktail containing interleukin (IL)-1beta, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and interferon-gamma. A complementary DNA expression array containing 588 genes was used to follow cytokine-stimulated gene expression. The expression and secretion of the cytokines IL-1beta, IL-6, and IL-8 significantly increased after 20 h of stimulation as measured by relative reverse transcriptase/ polymerase chain reaction, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and Western blotting techniques. Expression of IL-6 and IL-8 was sensitive to SB203580, the specific inhibitor of p38 mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase and PD98059, an inhibitor of MAP kinase kinase. Expression of IL-1beta was sensitive only to PD98059. Together, these results demonstrate that the p38 and extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase MAP kinase pathways are required for proinflammatory mediator- induced cytokine expression in airway myocytes. The generation of chemokines and cytokines in airway smooth muscle also provides evidence that smooth-muscle cells have the ability to contribute to the inflammatory response.

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