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Blood. 2008 Apr 1;111(7):3343-54. doi: 10.1182/blood-2007-10-115758. Epub 2008 Jan 16.

HIF-1alpha regulates epithelial inflammation by cell autonomous NFkappaB activation and paracrine stromal remodeling.

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Department of Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO 63110-1093, USA.


Hypoxia inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) is a master regulatory transcription factor controlling multiple cell-autonomous and non-cell-autonomous processes, such as metabolism, angiogenesis, matrix invasion, and cancer metastasis. Here we used a new line of transgenic mice with constitutive gain of HIF-1 function in basal keratinocytes and demonstrated a signaling pathway from HIF-1 to nuclear factor kappa B (NFkappaB) activation to enhanced epithelial chemokine and cytokine elaboration. This pathway was responsible for a phenotypically silent accumulation of stromal inflammatory cells and a marked inflammatory hypersensitivity to a single 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) challenge. HIF-1-induced NFkappaB activation was composed of 2 elements, IkappaB hyperphosphorylation and phosphorylation of Ser276 on p65, enhancing p65 nuclear localization and transcriptional activity, respectively. NFkappaB transcriptional targets macrophage inflammatory protein-2 (MIP-2/CXCL2/3), keratinocyte chemokine (KC/CXCL1), and tumor necrosis factor [alfa] (TNFalpha) were constitutively up-regulated and further increased after TPA challenge both in cultured keratinocytes and in transgenic mice. Whole animal KC, MIP-2, or TNFalpha immunodepletion each abrogated TPA-induced inflammation, whereas blockade of either VEGF or placenta growth factor (PlGF) signaling did not affect transgenic inflammatory hyper-responsiveness. Thus, epithelial HIF-1 gain of function remodels the local environment by cell-autonomous NFkappaB-mediated chemokine and cytokine secretion, which may be another mechanism by which HIF-1 facilitates either inflammatory diseases or malignant progression.

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