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FEBS Lett. 2001 Nov 2;507(3):351-6.

TNF-alpha enhances intracellular glucocorticoid availability.

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Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital of Berne, Freiburgstrasse 15, 3010, Berne, Switzerland.


For understanding the mechanism(s) relating inflammation to corticosteroid action, the effect of tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) on 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 (11beta-HSD2), the enzyme regulating access of 11beta-hydroxycorticosteroids to receptors, was studied in LLC-PK(1) cells. We observed (i) NAD-dependent enzyme activity and mRNA for 11beta-HSD2, but not 11beta-HSD1, (ii) increasing 11beta-HSD2 activity with increasing degree of differentiation and (iii) a concentration-dependent down-regulation by TNF-alpha, phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) or glucose of activity and mRNA of 11beta-HSD2. The decrease of activity and mRNA by glucose and PMA, but not that by TNF-alpha, was abrogated by the protein kinase C inhibitor GF-109203X. The effect of TNF-alpha on 11beta-HSD2 was reversed by inhibiting the mitogen-activated protein kinases ERK with PD-098050 and p38 by SB-202190, or by activating protein kinase A with forskolin. Overexpression of MEK1, an ERK activator, down-regulated the 11beta-HSD2 activity. In conclusion, TNF-alpha decreases 11beta-HSD2 activity and thereby enhances glucocorticoid access to glucocorticoid receptors to modulate the inflammatory response.

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