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Cell Signal. 2007 Feb;19(2):251-60. Epub 2006 Sep 20.

Beta2 adrenergic receptor activation stimulates pro-inflammatory cytokine production in macrophages via PKA- and NF-kappaB-independent mechanisms.

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The Comprehensive Center for Inflammatory Disorders, School of Dentistry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


Activation of the beta(2) adrenergic receptor (beta(2)AR) located on macrophages has been reported to possess anti-inflammatory properties, inhibiting nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) activation and cytokine production induced by pro-inflammatory stimuli. Here, we show that activation of the beta(2)AR in the absence of pro-inflammatory stimuli produced up to an 80- and 8-fold increase in IL-1beta and IL-6 transcripts, respectively, in the RAW 264.7 murine macrophage cell line. This increase in mRNA expression was accompanied by a significant increase in IL-1beta and IL-6 protein production. Pre-treatment of RAW cells with pharmacological inhibitors of protein kinase A (PKA) or NF-kappaB pathway failed to block this cytokine increase. Instead, the beta(2)AR-mediated increase in cytokines required activation of both the B-raf-ERK1/2 and p38 pathways. Treatment of RAW cells with the exchange protein directly activated by cAMP (EPAC) agonist also resulted in the up-regulation of IL-1beta and IL-6 transcripts. Examination of the main transcription factors downstream of the ERK1/2 and p38 signaling revealed that beta(2)AR activation resulted in the stimulation of CRE-, but not C/EBPbeta-, ETS-, or NF-kappaB-dependent transcription. Western blot analysis further showed that among the transcription factors which recognize the CRE-binding site, ATF-1 and ATF-2 but not CREB proteins were phosphorylated in an ERK1/2- and p38-dependent manner. Collectively, these results demonstrate that beta(2)ARs possess pro-inflammatory properties and that their activation leads to IL-1beta and IL-6 production through ERK1/2- and p38-dependent activation of ATF-1 and ATF-2 transcription factors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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