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J Biol Chem. 1999 Feb 19;274(8):5038-46.

Oxidative damage of cardiomyocytes is limited by extracellular regulated kinases 1/2-mediated induction of cyclooxygenase-2.

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  • 1Centre for Cardiovascular Science, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland.


Oxidative stress causes cardiac damage following ischemia/reperfusion and in response to anthracyclines. Extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK) 1/2 are activated by oxidative stress in cardiac myocytes and protect cardiac myocytes from apoptosis. Prostaglandins (PG) also protect cells from injury in a number of tissues, including the cardiomyocyte. Cyclooxygenase (COX) the rate-limiting enzyme in PG biosynthesis has two isoforms, the constitutive COX-1 and an inducible COX-2. Here, we examined the effects of two oxidative stresses, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and the anthracycline doxorubicin on the activity of ERK1/2 and the expression of COX isoforms and PG formation in neonatal rat primary cardiomyocytes. These cells expressed COX-1 at rest and both COX isoforms on treatment with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate. Exposure to 50 microM H2O2 for 10 min or doxorubicin at 10 and 100 micrograms/ml caused expression of COX-2 that was prevented by free radical scavengers. COX-2 induction was associated with activation of ERK1/2 and the specific ERK-inhibitor PD098059 abolished COX-2 expression. Treatment of cells with decoy oligonucleotides corresponding to COX-2 promoter elements implicated the AP-1 and NF-kappaB-2 but not the NF-kappaB-1 in the transcription of COX-2. Induction of COX-2 mRNA and protein was accompanied by increased prostacyclin formation, which was abolished by the selective COX-2 inhibitor, NS-398, and PD098059. H2O2 and doxorubicin enhanced the release of lactate dehydrogenase and free radical scavengers prevented this. NS-398 enhanced the release of lactate dehydrogenase in response to H2O2 and doxorubicin, whereas the injury was prevented by iloprost, a stable prostacyclin analogue. In cardiomyocytes cell injury by H2O2 and doxorubicin is limited by an increase in prostacyclin formation that reflects induction of COX-2 mediated by ERK1/2 activation.

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