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FASEB J. 2007 Jan;21(1):74-80. Epub 2006 Nov 10.

MAPK phosphatase-1 represents a novel anti-inflammatory target of glucocorticoids in the human endothelium.

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  • 1University of Munich, Department of Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Biology, Butenandtstr. 5-13, 81377 Munich, Germany. robert.fuerst@cup.uni-muenchen.de


Glucocorticoids are well-established anti-inflammatory drugs thought to mainly act by inhibition of proinflammatory transcription factors like NF-kappaB. In recent years, however, transcription factor-independent mechanisms of glucocorticoid action have been proposed, namely the influence on MAPK pathways. Here we identify MAPK phosphatase-1 (MKP-1) as a pivotal mediator of the anti-inflammatory action of glucocorticoids in the human endothelium. We applied dexamethasone (Dex) to TNF-alpha-activated human endothelial cells and used the adhesion molecule E-selectin as inflammatory read-out parameter. Dex is known to reduce the expression of E-selectin, which is largely regulated by NF-kappaB. Here, we communicate that Dex at low concentrations (1-100 nM) markedly attenuates E-selectin expression without affecting NF-kappaB. Importantly, Dex is able to increase the expression of MKP-1, which causes an inactivation of TNF-alpha-induced p38 MAPK and mediates inhibition of E-selectin expression. In endothelial MKP-1(-/-) cells differentiated from MKP-1(-/-) embryonic stem cells and in MKP-1-silenced human endothelial cells, Dex did not inhibit TNF-alpha-evoked E-selectin expression. Thus, our findings introduce MKP-1 as a novel and crucial mediator of the anti-inflammatory action of glucocorticoids at low concentrations in the human endothelium and highlight MKP-1 as an important and promising anti-inflammatory drug target.

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