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J Immunol. 2000 Aug 15;165(4):2134-41.

The involvement of tyrosine kinases, cyclic AMP/protein kinase A, and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase in IL-13-mediated arginase I induction in macrophages: its implications in IL-13-inhibited nitric oxide production.

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  • 1Department of Medical Physiology, Cardiovascular Research Institute, Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, College Station, TX 77843, USA.


In macrophages, L-arginine can be used by NO synthase and arginase to form NO and urea, respectively. Therefore, activation of arginase may be an effective mechanism for regulating NO production in macrophages through substrate competition. Here, we examined whether IL-13 up-regulates arginase and thus reduces NO production from LPS-activated macrophages. The signaling molecules involved in IL-13-induced arginase activation were also determined. Results showed that IL-13 increased arginase activity through de novo synthesis of the arginase I mRNA and protein. The activation of arginase was preceded by a transient increase in intracellular cAMP, tyrosine kinase phosphorylation, and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation. Exogenous cAMP also increased arginase activity and enhanced the effect of IL-13 on arginase induction. The induction of arginase was abolished by a protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitor, KT5720, and was down-regulated by tyrosine kinase inhibitors and a p38 MAPK inhibitor, SB203580. However, inhibition of p38 MAPK had no effect on either the IL-13-increased intracellular cAMP or the exogenous cAMP-induced arginase activation, suggesting that p38 MAPK signaling is parallel to the cAMP/PKA pathway. Furthermore, the induction of arginase was insensitive to the protein kinase C and p44/p42 MAPK kinase inhibitors. Finally, IL-13 significantly inhibited NO production from LPS-activated macrophages, and this effect was reversed by an arginase inhibitor, L-norvaline. Together, these data demonstrate for the first time that IL-13 down-regulates NO production through arginase induction via cAMP/PKA, tyrosine kinase, and p38 MAPK signalings and underline the importance of arginase in the immunosuppressive activity of IL-13 in activated macrophages.

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