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Immunobiology. 2008;213(7):533-44. doi: 10.1016/j.imbio.2008.01.003. Epub 2008 Feb 20.

Tumor necrosis factor-alpha up-regulates the expression of CCL2 and adhesion molecules of human proximal tubular epithelial cells through MAPK signaling pathways.

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  • 1Department of Chemical Pathology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, NT, Hong Kong.


Both circulating and urinary tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha levels have been shown to increase in inflammatory chronic kidney diseases and TNF-alpha can induce secretion of other inflammatory mediators from many cell types. Chemokine, mononuclear chemoattractant protein-1 (CCL2/MCP-1), and cell surface adhesion molecules, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), in renal proximal tubular epithelial cells (PTEC) are important for promoting recruitment and adhesion of infiltrating macrophages and lymphocytes to inflamed renal tissue. This study aimed to investigate the effect of TNF-alpha on the expression of these inflammation-related molecules of human PTEC and the underlying intracellular mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) regulatory signaling mechanisms. Cytokine expression profile of TNF-alpha-activated PTEC was assayed by protein array. The concentration of CCL2 was analyzed by ELISA, while the expression of cell surface ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 and intracellular phosphorylated p38 MAPK, c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) was assessed using flow cytometry. TNF-alpha could significantly induce CCL2, ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 expression of PTEC. Selective inhibitors of p38 MAPK (SB203580), JNK (SP600125) and ERK (PD98059) could suppress TNF-alpha-induced CCL2 and ICAM-1 expression, while only p38 MAPK and ERK inhibitors could suppress TNF-alpha-induced VCAM-1 expression. JNK inhibitor was found to up-regulate VCAM-1 expression but did not elicit any additive effect with TNF-alpha on VCAM-1 expression. Moreover, p38 MAPK inhibitor was found to abrogate the TNF-alpha-induced ERK phosphorylation, suggesting that there was a one-way interaction between p38 MAPK and ERK pathways during the TNF-alpha activation. TNF-alpha can play a crucial role in the immunopathogenesis of nephritis by the induction of CCL2, ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 expression via the activation of the intracellular MAPK signaling pathway, which may contribute to macrophage and lymphocyte infiltration.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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