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Pharmacol Res. 2005 May;51(5):463-71.

Role of p38 MAP kinase in postcapillary venule leukocyte adhesion induced by ischemia/reperfusion injury.

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  • 1Vascular Biology and Thrombosis, Cardiovascular and Urogenital Center for Excellence in Drug Discovery, 709 Swedeland Rd., UW2510, King of Prussia, PA 19406, USA.


Inflammation and leukocyte activation/infiltration play a major role in the initiation and progression of cardiovascular diseases including atherosclerosis and heart failure. Acute p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway inhibition attenuates tissue damage and leukocyte accumulation in myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury, although its effect on the acute phase of leukocyte recruitment has not been elucidated. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that acute treatment of rats with a selective p38 inhibitor, SB-239063, inhibits ischemia/reperfusion-induced leukocyte-endothelial adhesion in vivo. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were treated with either SB-239063 (10 mgkg(-1)), dexamethasone (3 mgkg(-1)) or vehicle 1h prior to ischemia. Postcapillary venules were observed microscopically in exteriorized, superfused cremaster tissue. Leukocytes were fluorescently labeled in vivo using intravenous rhodamine 6G. Leukocyte adhesion, rolling, and rolling velocities were quantitated prior to 30 min ischemia, and at several time points during a 90 min reperfusion period. Ischemia caused a 3-fold increase in adherent leukocytes 5 min following reperfusion, a response that was maintained throughout the monitoring period (90 min) in vehicle-treated animals. SB-239063, at a dose known to inhibit p38 MAPK activity in vivo (10 mgkg(-1)), had no effect on ischemia/reperfusion-induced leukocyte adhesion, the number of rolling leukocytes, rolling velocities during the reperfusion period or adhesion molecule expression (P-, E-selectin, VCAM-1, ICAM-1). In contrast, dexamethasone completely blocked leukocyte adhesion in response to ischemia/reperfusion, and reduced expression of E-selectin, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1). We conclude that p38 MAPK may not play a role in initial leukocyte recruitment in response to ischemia/reperfusion injury, but could affect leukocyte emigration, thereby resulting in increased leukocyte accumulation in ischemic-reperfused tissue.

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