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J Biol Chem. 2011 May 6;286(18):15998-6007. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.205724. Epub 2011 Mar 15.

Down-regulation of cytokine-induced interleukin-8 requires inhibition of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) via MAPK phosphatase 1-dependent and -independent mechanisms.

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  • 1Research Institute of McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Down-regulation of overabundant interleukin (IL)-8 present in cystic fibrosis (CF) airways could ease excessive neutrophil burden and its deleterious consequences for the lung. IL-8 production in airway epithelial cells, stimulated with e.g. inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, is regulated by several signaling pathways including nuclear factor (NF)-κB and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). We previously demonstrated that the anti-inflammatory drugs dexamethasone and ibuprofen suppress NF-κB; however, only dexamethasone down-regulates cytokine-induced IL-8, highlighting the importance of non-NF-κB mechanisms. Here, we tested the hypothesis that down-regulation of cytokine-induced IL-8 requires modulation of the MAPK phosphatase (MKP)-1/p38 MAPK/mRNA stability pathway. The effects of dexamethasone (5 nm) and ibuprofen (480 μm) on this pathway and IL-8 were studied in CF (CFTE29o-, CFBE41o-) and non-CF (1HAEo-) airway epithelial cells. We observed that dexamethasone, but not ibuprofen, destabilizes IL-8 mRNA and up-regulates MKP-1 mRNA. Further, siRNA silencing of MKP-1, via p38 MAPK, leads to IL-8 overproduction and diminishes the anti-IL-8 potential of dexamethasone. However, MKP-1 overexpression does not significantly alter IL-8 production. By contrast, direct inhibition of p38 MAPK (inhibitor SB203580) efficiently suppresses IL-8 with potency comparable with dexamethasone. Similar to dexamethasone, SB203580 decreases IL-8 mRNA stability. Dexamethasone does not affect p38 MAPK activation, which excludes its effects upstream of p38 MAPK. In conclusion, normal levels of MKP-1 are necessary for a full anti-IL-8 potential of pharmacological agents; however, efficient pharmacological down-regulation of cytokine-induced IL-8 also requires direct effects on p38 MAPK and mRNA stability independently of MKP-1.

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