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Free Radic Biol Med. 2002 May 1;32(9):890-7.

Nuclear factor-kappaB mediates over-expression of cyclooxygenase-2 during activation of RAW 264.7 macrophages in selenium deficiency.

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Department of Veterinary Science and Center of Molecular Toxicology and Carcinogenesis, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park 16802, USA.


Selenium (Se) is an essential micronutrient for all mammalian species and is associated with a variety of physiological functions, notably immune system, in the form of selenoproteins. Inadequate Se nutrition has been linked to various diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, cardiomyopathy, and cancer. Important to this discussion is that cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is over-expressed in all the aforesaid pathologies; however, a casual relationship between Se status and COX-2 expression remains to be established. The present study is based on the hypothesis that oxidant stress, a consequence of Se deficiency, lowers the activation potential of the redox-sensitive transcription factor, NF-kappaB, and that the activated NF-kappaB is required for the altered expression of COX-2. To test this hypothesis, we have investigated the relationship between Se status and COX-2 expression in response to LPS stimulation in RAW 264.7, a macrophage-like cell line. In Se-deficient cells, the Se-dependent glutathione peroxidase activity (Se-GPx), a measure of Se status, was markedly reduced and the overall oxidative stress was significantly higher than Se-supplemented cells. Upon lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation, we found 2-3-folds higher COX-2 protein expression as well as higher PGE2 levels in Se-deficient cells than Se-supplemented cells. In comparison, COX-1 protein expression was not affected by either LPS stimulation or Se status. Following LPS stimulation, the nuclear localization of NF-kappaB was significantly increased in Se-deficient macrophages, thereby leading to increased expression of COX-2. This is the first report demonstrating an inverse relationship between Se status and the expression of COX-2.

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