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Exp Eye Res. 2003 May;76(5):573-83.

Human RPE-monocyte co-culture induces chemokine gene expression through activation of MAPK and NIK cascade.

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Department of Ophthalmology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48105, USA.


Cell-cell contact between human retinal pigment epithelium (hRPE) cells and monocytes occurs in many retinal diseases involving blood-retinal barrier breakdown. This study investigates chemokine secretion induced by co-culture of hRPE cells and monocytes and illustrates the roles of p38 kinase, ERK, JNK/SAPK and NF-kappaB-inducing kinase signaling pathways for hRPE IL-8 and MCP-1 secretion induced in hRPE by co-culture with monocytes. Co-culture of hRPE cells with monocytes increased steady-state IL-8 and MCP-1 mRNA and protein secretion. Stimulation of hRPE cells by monocytes resulted in prominent increases in p38, ERK1/2 and JNK/SAPK phosphorolation, IkappaBalpha degradation, and NF-kappaB nuclear translocation. The induced IL-8 and MCP-1 proteins were almost completely supporessed by U0126, a specific mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK) inhibitor, or by SB203580, a selective p38 inhibitor. Chemokine secretion was completely blocked by simultaneous administration of U0126 and SB203580. Induction of IL-8 and MCP-1 was abrogated by Ro318220, an inhibitor of PKC, as well as by genistein or herbimycin A, inhibitors of PTK. In addition, anti-inflammatory drugs dexamethasone (DEX) and cyclosporin A (CSA) both blocked activation of JNKS/SAPK and the cell-cell contact induced production of hRPE IL-8 and MCP-1, while activation of p38 and ERK was only inhibited by DEX, but not by CSA. These results suggest that activation of DEX-sensitive, CSA-resistant MEK/ERK and p38 pathways, and activation of NF-kappaB, PKC, and PTK are essential for IL-8 and MCP-1 expression by hRPE cells.

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