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Eur Respir J. 2011 Apr;37(4):933-42. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00021110. Epub 2010 Aug 6.

Inhibition of p38 MAPK-dependent bronchial contraction after ozone by corticosteroids.

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  • 1Dept Dept of Respiratory Medicine, The Affiliated First People’s Hospital of Shanghai, Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China.


We determined the role of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) in the increased airway smooth muscle (ASM) contractile responses following ozone and modulation by corticosteroids. Mice were exposed to air or ozone (3 ppm for 3 h) and isometric contractile responses of bronchial rings to acetylcholine (ACh) were measured using a myograph in the presence of p38 MAPK inhibitor, SB239063 (10⁻⁶ M) or dexamethasone (10⁻⁶ M). Because MAPK phosphatase (MKP)-1 is a negative regulator of p38 MAPK, we also studied these effects in MKP-1(-/-) mice. Bronchial rings from ozone-exposed wild-type and MKP-1(-/-) mice showed increased contractile responses, with a leftward shift of the dose-response curve in MKP-1(-/-) mice. SB239063 inhibited bronchial contraction equally in air- and ozone-exposed C57/BL6 and MKP-1(-/-) mice. Dexamethasone inhibited ACh-induced bronchial contraction in both air- and ozone-exposed C57/BL6 mice, but not in air- or ozone-exposed MKP-1(-/-) mice. ACh-stimulated p38 MAPK and heat shock protein (HSP)27 phosphorylation, as measured by Western blotting, and this effect was suppressed by SB239063 in C57/BL6 and MKP-1(-/-) mice, but not by dexamethasone in either air- or ozone-exposed MKP-1(-/-) mice. p38 MAPK plays a role in maximal ACh-induced isometric contractile responses and increased contractility induced by ozone. Dexamethasone inhibits ACh-induced ASM contraction through phosphorylation of p38 MAPK and HSP27.

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