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Shock. 2010 Feb;33(2):197-204. doi: 10.1097/SHK.0b013e3181ae8155.

Ron receptor tyrosine kinase negatively regulates TNFalpha production in alveolar macrophages by inhibiting NF-kappaB activity and Adam17 production.

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  • 1Department of Cancer and Cell Biology, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH 45267-0521, USA.


The Ron receptor tyrosine kinase (TK) plays a regulatory role in the inflammatory response to acute lung injury induced by intranasal administration of bacterial LPS. Previously, we have shown that mice with a targeted deletion of the TK signaling domain of the Ron receptor exhibited more severe lung injury in response to intranasal LPS administration as evidenced by an increased leakage of albumin in the lungs and a greater thickening of the alveolar septa compared with wild-type mice. In addition, lung injury in the Ron TK-deficient (TK(-/-)) mice was associated with increased activation of the transcription factor, nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB), and significantly increased intrapulmonary expression of TNFalpha. TNFalpha, a multifunctional proinflammatory cytokine, is a central mediator in several disease states, including rheumatoid arthritis and sepsis. On the basis of the observation that TNFalpha production is increased in the Ron TK-/- mice and that macrophages are a major source of this cytokine, we hypothesized that the alterations observed in the Ron TK(-/-) mice may be due, in part, to Ron signaling, specifically in alveolar macrophages. To test this hypothesis, we used the wild-type and Ron TK(-/-) primary alveolar macrophages and the murine alveolar macrophage cell line, MH-S, to examine the effects of Ron activation on LPS-induced TNFalpha production and NF-kappaB activity. Here, we reported that Ron is expressed on alveolar macrophages and MH-S cells. Activation of Ron by its ligand, hepatocyte growth factor-like protein, decreases TNFalpha production in alveolar macrophages after LPS challenge. Decreased TNFalpha is associated with hepatocyte growth factor-like protein-induced decreases in NF-kappaB activation and increases in the NF-kappaB inhibitory protein, IkappaB. We also provided the first evidence for Ron as a negative regulator of Adam17, the metalloprotease involved in TNFalpha processing. These results indicate that Ron plays a critical role in regulation of alveolar macrophage signaling and validates this receptor as a target in TNFalpha-mediated pulmonary pathologies.

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