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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2007 Jun;292(6):H2982-7. Epub 2007 Feb 9.

Role of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway in estrogen-mediated cardioprotection following trauma-hemorrhage.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan.


p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activates a number of heat shock proteins (HSPs), including HSP27 and alpha(B)-crystallin, in response to stress. Activation of HSP27 or alpha(B)-crystallin is known to protect organs/cells by increasing the stability of actin microfilaments. Although our previous studies showed that 17beta-estradiol (E(2)) improves cardiovascular function after trauma-hemorrhage, whether the salutary effects of E(2) under those conditions are mediated via p38 MAPK remains unknown. Male rats (275-325 g body wt) were subjected to soft tissue trauma and hemorrhage (35-40 mmHg mean blood pressure for approximately 90 min) followed by fluid resuscitation. At the onset of resuscitation, rats were injected intravenously with vehicle, E(2) (1 mg/kg body wt), E(2) + the p38 MAPK inhibitor SB-203580 (2 mg/kg body wt), or SB-203580 alone, and various parameters were measured 2 h thereafter. Cardiac functions that were depressed after trauma-hemorrhage were returned to normal levels by E(2) administration, and phosphorylation of cardiac p38 MAPK, HSP27, and alpha(B)-crystallin was increased. The E(2)-mediated improvement of cardiac function and increase in p38 MAPK, HSP27, and alpha(B)-crystallin phosphorylation were abolished with coadministration of SB-203580. These results suggest that the salutary effect of E(2) on cardiac function after trauma-hemorrhage is in part mediated via upregulation of p38 MAPK and subsequent phosphorylation of HSP27 and alpha(B)-crystallin.

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