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J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2001 Jun;33(6):1263-71.

Differential regulation of myocardial NF kappa B following acute or chronic TNF-alpha exposure.

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Department of Pediatrics, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390, USA.


Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) is a critical mediator of myocardial dysfunction during acute inflammatory states. TNF-alpha is also present in the serum of patients with chronic cardiac diseases. In monocytes, TNF-alpha stimulates cells by activating distinct signaling pathways that involve nuclear translocation of NF kappa B. Since NF kappa B may also regulate the expression of genes that could contribute to myocardial dysfunction, the cardiomyocyte NF kappa B activation following acute or chronic TNF-alpha challenges was investigated. To accomplish this, the authors either acutely administered TNF-alpha to healthy mice, or used transgenic mice which chronically overexpress TNF-alpha exclusively in cardiac myocytes. Following acute administration of TNF-alpha, cardiac NF kappa B translocation was detected from 15 min to 2 h post-challenge. The time course of I kappa B alpha degradation was consistent with the kinetics of NF kappa B translocation. I kappa B beta degradation was slower and less dramatic. In transgenic mice chronically overexpressing TNF-alpha, myocardial NF kappa B activation was detected at all ages tested (21, 40, and 75 days). In contrast to acutely challenged animals, two distinct NF kappa B proteins were activated in chronically challenged animals, p50--65 heterodimers as well as p50 homodimers. Activation of both could be transiently blocked by administration of a recombinant chimeric TNF-alpha receptor antagonist (rhTNFR:Fc). I kappa B alpha, but not I kappa B beta, levels were elevated in transgenics when compared to wild-type animals. These data indicate that following acute TNF-alpha administration, which simulates bacterial sepsis, myocardial p50-p65 translocates within minutes. Chronic TNF-alpha exposure, which is thought to occur in long-standing congestive heart failure, results in translocation of transcriptionally inactive p50 homodimers in addition to transcriptionally active p50--65 heterodimers. It is speculated that activation of p50 homodimers constitutes an adaptive response to minimize the inflammatory consequences of chronic cardiac TNF-alpha exposure.

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