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Diabetes. 2001 Jun;50(6):1495-504.

Requirement for p38 and p44/p42 mitogen-activated protein kinases in RAGE-mediated nuclear factor-kappaB transcriptional activation and cytokine secretion.

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  • 1Cell Biology and Apoptosis Program, Texas Biotechnology Corporation, 7000 Fannin, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Advanced glycation end product (AGE) activation of the signal-transducing receptor for AGE (RAGE) has been linked to a proinflammatory phenotypic change within cells. However, the precise intracellular signaling pathways involved have not been elucidated. We demonstrate here that human serum albumin modified with N(epsilon)-(carboxymethyl)lysine (CML), a major AGE adduct that progressively accumulates with aging, diabetes, and renal failure, induced nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB-driven reporter gene expression in human monocytic THP-1 cells. The NF-kappaB response was blocked with a synthetic peptide corresponding to the putative ligand-binding domain of RAGE, with anti-RAGE antiserum, and by coexpression of truncated receptors lacking the intracellular domain. Signal transduction from RAGE to NF-kappaB involved the generation of reactive oxygen species, since reporter gene expression was blocked with the antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine. CML-modified albumin produced rapid transient activation of tyrosine phosphorylation, extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1 and 2, and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), but not c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase. RAGE-mediated NF-kappaB activation was suppressed by the selective p38 MAPK inhibitor SB203580 and by coexpression of a kinase-dead p38 dominant-negative mutant. Activation of NF-kappaB by CML-modified albumin increased secretion of proinflammatory cytokines (tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin-1beta, and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1) severalfold, and inhibition of p38 MAPK blocked these increases. These results indicate that p38 MAPK activation mediates RAGE-induced NF-kappaB-dependent secretion of proinflammatory cytokines and suggest that accelerated inflammation may be a consequence of cellular activation induced by this receptor.

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