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J Inflamm (Lond). 2012 Jan 12;9(1):1. doi: 10.1186/1476-9255-9-1.

LPS induced inflammatory responses in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells is mediated through NOX4 and Giα dependent PI-3kinase signalling.

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Airways Disease Section, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, London, UK.


COPD is a disease of innate immunity and bacterial infections are a dominant cause of exacerbations in the later stages resulting in poor health and high mortality. The pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is sensed by immune cells through activation of the toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). This leads to the activation of NADPH oxidase (NOX) and NF-κB which together drive COPD inflammation. In this study we show in human PBMCs that LPS stimulated proinflammatory cytokine release (CXCL8 and IL6) was inhibited by approximately 50% by the broad specificity phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor, wortmannin. Our results also demonstrate that activation of PI3K following LPS stimulation is mediated by a NOX4 dependent mechanism releasing endogenous H2O2, as the NOX4 inhibitor apocynin blocked LPS induced AKT phosphorylation. Moreover, LPS-induced PI3K activation was inhibited by the anti-oxidant N-acetylcysteine in a concentration dependent manner (IC50 ~100 μM). In addition, our data demonstrated that inhibition of small G proteins, by pre-treatment with pertussis toxin, inhibited LPS-induced AKT phosphorylation. Furthermore, the G-protein inhibitors pertussis toxin and mastoparan both inhibited LPS-induced CXCL8 and IL-6 release by approximately 50%. Together, these data indicate there is a mechanism in human PBMCs where TLR4 activation by LPS leads to ROS generation through NOX4 and activation of the PI3K pathway. This effect is apparently mediated through small G proteins facilitating the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

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