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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2008 Apr 15;228(2):135-43. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2007.12.002. Epub 2007 Dec 14.

Involvement of mitogen-activated protein kinases and NFkappaB in LPS-induced CD40 expression on human monocytic cells.

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Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma, and Lung Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


CD40 is a costimulatory molecule linking innate and adaptive immune responses to bacterial stimuli, as well as a critical regulator of functions of other costimulatory molecules. The mechanisms regulating lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced CD40 expression have not been adequately characterized in human monocytic cells. In this study we used a human monocytic cell line, THP-1, to investigate the possible mechanisms of CD40 expression following LPS exposure. Exposure to LPS resulted in a dose- and time-dependent increase in CD40 expression. Further studies using immunoblotting and pharmacological inhibitors revealed that mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) and NFkappaB were activated by LPS exposure and involved in LPS-induced CD40 expression. Activation of MAPKs was not responsible for LPS-induced NFkappaB activation. TLR4 was expressed on THP-1 cells and pretreatment of cells with a Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) neutralizing antibody (HTA125) significantly blunted LPS-induced MAPK and NFkappaB activation and ensuing CD40 expression. Additional studies with murine macrophages expressing wild type and mutated TLR4 showed that TLR4 was implicated in LPS-induced ERK and NFkappaB activation, and CD40 expression. Moreover, blockage of MAPK and NFkappaB activation inhibited LPS-induced TLR4 expression. In summary, LPS-induced CD40 expression in monocytic cells involves MAPKs and NFkappaB.

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