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J Biol Chem. 2007 May 4;282(18):13351-62. Epub 2007 Mar 8.

Cyclosporin A and FK506 inhibit IL-12p40 production through the calmodulin/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase-activated phosphoinositide 3-kinase in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated human monocytic cells.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and Biochemistry, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 8L1, Canada.


Cyclosporine-A (CyA) and FK506 are potent immunosuppressive agents because of their ability to suppress the production of Th1 cytokines including interleukin (IL)-12. However, the mechanisms underlying the inhibitory effects of CyA and FK506 on the production of IL-12p40, a critical component of IL-12, remain unknown. Both CyA and FK506 are potent inhibitors of calcineurin in the calcium signaling pathway. Interestingly, calcium and phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling pathways have been shown to negatively regulate lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced murine IL-12p40 production. Contrary to these observations, we show that LPS-induced IL-12p40 production in human monocytic cells is positively regulated by the calcium pathway and in particular by calmodulin-(CaM) and CaM-dependent protein kinase-II (CaMK-II)-activated PI3K. Furthermore, LPS-induced IL-12p40 production was regulated by the p110alpha catalytic subunit of PI3K. Moreover, LPS induced IL-12p40 production through the CaM/CaMK-II-activated NFkappaB and AP-1 transcription factors. LPS-induced IL-12p40 production is known to be regulated by the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathway. Importantly, both CyA and FK506 down-regulated LPS-induced IL-12p40 transcription by inhibiting CaM/CaMK-II-activated PI3K and their downstream transcription factors NFkappaB and AP-1 independent of the JNK pathway.

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