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J Immunol. 2001 Mar 15;166(6):3837-45.

A critical role for p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase in the maturation of human blood-derived dendritic cells induced by lipopolysaccharide, TNF-alpha, and contact sensitizers.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, DHURVD, University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland. jean-francois.arrighi@hcuge.ch


We investigated the involvement of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) in the maturation of CD83(-) dendritic cells (DC) derived from human blood monocytes. Maturating agents such as LPS and TNF-alpha induced the phosphorylation of members of the three families of MAPK (extracellular signal-regulated kinase l/2, p46/54 c-Jun N-terminal kinase, and p38 MAPK). SB203580, an inhibitor of the p38 MAPK, but not the extracellular signal-regulated kinase l/2 pathway blocker PD98059, inhibited the up-regulation of CD1a, CD40, CD80, CD86, HLA-DR, and the DC maturation marker CD83 induced by LPS and TNF-alpha. In addition, SB203580 inhibited the enhancement of the allostimulatory capacity and partially prevented the down-regulation of FITC-dextran uptake induced by LPS and TNF-alpha. Likewise, SB203580 partially prevented the up-regulation of IL-1alpha, IL-1beta, IL-lRa, and TNF-alpha mRNA upon stimulation with LPS and TNF-alpha, as well as the release of bioactive TNF-alpha induced by LPS. DC maturation induced by the contact sensitizers 2,4-dinitrofluorobenzene and NiSO(4), as seen by the up-regulation of CD80, CD86, and CD83, was also coupled to the phosphorylation of p38 MAPK, and was inhibited by SB203580. The irritants SDS and benzalkonium chloride that do not induce DC maturation did not trigger p38 MAPK phosphorylation. Together, these data indicate that phosphorylation of p38 MAPK is critical for the maturation of immature DC. These results also suggest that p38 MAPK phosphorylation in DC may become useful for the identification of potential skin contact sensitizers.

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