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J Dermatol Sci. 2005 Aug;39(2):113-23.

DNFB activates MAPKs and upregulates CD40 in skin-derived dendritic cells.

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Centro de Neurosciências e Biologia Celular, Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal.



The intracellular mechanisms involved in the activation of DCs during sensitization in allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) are not known.


Here, we investigated the effect of a strong sensitizer, 2,4-dinitrofluorobenzene (DNFB) on the activity of MAPKs in a dendritic cell (DC) line generated from fetal mouse skin (FSDC), and the results were correlated with the expression of a costimulatory molecule upregulated upon DC maturation, CD40.


Phosphorylation of ERK1/2 (pERK1/2) and p38 MAPK (pp38 MAPK), and CD40 protein levels, were determined by Western blot. Cellular localization of pERK1/2 and pp38 MAPK were determined by immunocytochemistry using phospho-specific antibodies.


Although with different kinetics, DNFB activated ERK1/2 and p38 MAPK, and induced the translocation of the phosphorylated forms of the kinases to the nucleus. In addition, DNFB upregulated significantly CD40 protein levels in FSDC. However, 2,4-dichloronitrobenzene (DCNB), an inactive analogue of DNFB, did not affect significantly the phosphorylation of MAPKs and CD40 protein levels. SB203580 and SB202190, inhibitors of the p38 MAPK activity, inhibited DNFB-induced CD40 upregulation, although this effect did not reach statistical significance. In contrast, PD 98059 and U0126, inhibitors of mitogen or extracellular signal-regulated kinase (MEK), had no effect on the CD40 upregulation induced by DNFB.


Taken together, these results indicate that the strong sensitizer DNFB activates ERK1/2 and p38 MAPK signaling pathways, and upregulates CD40 protein levels. However, MAPKs do not play a major role in the induction of CD40, one of the phenotypic markers of DC maturation.

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