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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2002 Jan;26(1):99-104.

The role of the receptor tyrosine kinase Ron in nickel-induced acute lung injury.

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Department of Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, USA.


Acute lung injury (ALI), a severe respiratory syndrome, develops in response to numerous insults and responds poorly to therapeutic intervention. Recently, cDNA microarray analyses were performed that indicated several pathogenic responses during nickel-induced ALI, including marked macrophage activation. Macrophage activation is mediated, in part, via the receptor tyrosine kinase Ron. To address the role of Ron in ALI, the response of mice deficient in the cytoplasmic domain of Ron (Ron tk-/-) were assessed in response to nickel exposure. Ron tk-/- mice succumb to nickel-induced ALI earlier, express larger, early increases in interleukin-6, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, and macrophage inflammatory protein-2, display greater serum nitrite levels, and exhibit earlier onset of pulmonary pathology and augmented pulmonary tyrosine nitrosylation. Increases in cytokine expression and cellular nitration can lead to tissue damage and are consistent with the differences between genotypes in the early onset of pathology and mortality in Ron tk-/- mice. These analyses indicate a role for the tyrosine kinase receptor Ron in ALI.

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