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Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2003 Nov;285(5):L1087-98. Epub 2003 Jul 18.

p38 MAPK and NF-kappaB mediate COX-2 expression in human airway myocytes.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno, Nevada 89557-0046, USA.


We have previously demonstrated that p38 and extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK) mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) are components of proinflammatory induced cytokine expression in human airway myocytes. The experiments described here further these studies by examining p38 MAPK and NF-kappaB regulation of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression in response to a complex inflammatory stimulus consisting of 10 ng/ml interleukin (IL)-1beta, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), and interferon (IFN)-gamma. COX-2 expression was induced with this stimulus in a time-dependent manner, with maximal expression seen 12-20 h after treatment. Semiquantitative RT-PCR and immunoblotting experiments demonstrate decreased COX-2 expression following treatment with the p38 MAPK inhibitor SB-203580 (25 microM) or the proteosome inhibitor MG-132 (1 microM). SB-203580 did not affect cytokine-stimulated IkappaBalpha degradation, NF-kappaB nuclear binding activity, or NF-kappaB-dependent signaling from the COX-2 promoter, indicating that p38 MAPK and NF-kappaB may affect COX-2 expression via separate signaling pathways. SB-203580, but not MG-132, also increased the initial rate of COX-2 mRNA decay, indicating p38 MAPK, but not NF-kappaB, participates in the regulation of COX-2 mRNA stability. These findings suggest that although p38 MAPK and NF-kappaB signaling regulate steady-state levels of COX-2 expression, p38 MAPK additionally affects stability of COX-2 mRNA in cytokine-stimulated human airway myocytes.

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