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J Immunol. 1996 Nov 1;157(9):3902-8.

Hyperoxia activates NF-kappaB and increases TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma gene expression in mouse pulmonary lymphocytes.

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  • 1Pediatric Critical Care, The Children's Hospital, Denver, CO 80218, USA.


Hyperoxia-associated production of reactive oxygen species leads to neutrophil infiltration into the lungs and increased pulmonary proinflammatory cytokine expression. However, the initial events induced by hyperoxia, and leading to acute inflammatory lung injury, remain incompletely characterized. To explore this issue, we examined nuclear transcriptional regulatory factor (NF-kappaB and NF-IL-6) activation and cytokine expression in the lungs following 12 to 48 h of hyperoxia exposure. No increases in cytokine (IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-10, TGF-beta, TNF-alpha, IFN-gamma) expression nor in NF-kappaB activation were found after 12 h of hyperoxia. Following 24 h of hyperoxia, NF-kappaB activation and increased levels of TNF-alpha mRNA were present in pulmonary lymphocytes. By 48 h of hyperoxia, amounts of IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha protein as well as mRNA were increased in the lungs, and NF-kappaB continued to show activation, even though no histologic abnormalities were present. These results show that hyperoxia activates NF-kappaB in the lungs before any increase in proinflammatory cytokine protein occurs, and suggest that NF-kappaB activation may represent an initial event in the proinflammatory sequence induced by hyperoxia.

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