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Biochem J. 2006 Feb 1;393(Pt 3):657-68.

Transcriptional regulation of lysophosphatidic acid-induced interleukin-8 expression and secretion by p38 MAPK and JNK in human bronchial epithelial cells.

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  • 1Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.


HBEpCs (human bronchial epithelial cells) contribute to airway inflammation by secreting a variety of cytokines and chemokines in response to allergens, pathogens, viruses and environmental toxins and pollutants. The potent neutrophil chemoattractant, IL-8 (interleukin-8), is a major cytokine secreted by HBEpCs. We have recently demonstrated that LPA (lysophosphatidic acid) stimulated IL-8 production in HBEpCs via protein kinase C delta dependent signal transduction. However, mechanisms of IL-8 expression and secretion are complex and involve multiple protein kinases and transcriptional factors. The present study was undertaken to investigate MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) signalling in the transcriptional regulation of IL-8 expression and secretion in HBEpCs. Exposure of HBEpCs to LPA (1 microM) enhanced expression and secretion of IL-8 by 5-8-fold and stimulated threonine/tyrosine phosphorylation of ERK (extracellular-signal-regulated kinase), p38 MAPK and JNK (c-Jun N-terminal kinase). The LPA-induced secretion of IL-8 was blocked by the p38 MAPK inhibitor SB203580, by p38 MAPK siRNA (small interfering RNA), and by the JNK inhibitor JNK(i) II, but not by the MEK (MAPK/ERK kinase) inhibitor, PD98059. LPA enhanced the transcriptional activity of the IL-8 gene; that effect relied on activation of the transcriptional factors NF-kappaB (nuclear factor kappaB) and AP-1 (activator protein-1). Furthermore, SB203580 attenuated LPA-dependent phosphorylation of IkappaB (inhibitory kappaB), NF-kappaB and phospho-p38 translocation to the nucleus, NF-kappaB transcription and IL-8 promoter-mediated luciferase reporter activity, without affecting the JNK pathway and AP-1 transcription. Similarly, JNK(i) II only blocked LPA-mediated phosphorylation of JNK and c-Jun, AP-1 transcription and IL-8 promoter-mediated luciferase reporter activity, without blocking p38 MAPK-dependent NF-kappaB transcription. Additionally, siRNA for LPA(1-3) receptors partially blocked LPA-induced IL-8 production and activation of MAPKs. The LPA1 and LPA3 receptors, as compared with LPA2, were most efficient in transducing LPA-mediated IL-8 production. These results show an independent role for p38 MAPK and JNK in LPA-induced IL-8 expression and secretion via NF-kappaB and AP-1 transcription respectively in HBEpCs.

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