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Mol Immunol. 2012 Jun;51(2):219-26. doi: 10.1016/j.molimm.2012.03.019. Epub 2012 Mar 30.

The expression of interleukin-12 is increased by MAP kinase phosphatase-1 through a mechanism related to interferon regulatory factor 1.

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The Immunopharmacology Research Group, University of Tampere School of Medicine and Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland.


Mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase-1 (MKP-1) is a nuclear tyrosine/threonine phosphatase that inhibits p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activity. We and others have shown that MKP-1 deficiency leads to excessive activation of innate immunity and inflammatory gene expression. Surprisingly, the present study shows that MKP-1 is a positive regulator of IL-12 expression in macrophages suggesting a stimulatory effect on Th1 type immune response. In the present study, we found that LPS-induced expression of IL-12p40 was lower in primary mouse peritoneal macrophages (PMs) and bone marrow-derived macrophages from MKP-1 deficient mice than in cells from wild-type mice whereas TNF expression was enhanced as expected. Correspondingly, the inhibition of p38 MAPK by pharmacologic inhibitors BIRB 796 and SB 202190 enhanced LPS-induced IL-12p40 production. Silencing of interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF1) by siRNA inhibited the expression of IL-12p40 in J774 macrophages, showing that IRF1 is an important factor regulating IL-12p40 expression. BIRB 796 enhanced LPS-induced expression of IRF1 in J774 macrophages and in PMs from wild-type mice, and IRF1 expression was reduced in PMs from MKP-1 deficient mice. In conclusions, our results show that MKP-1 increases and p38 MAPK decreases the expression of IL-12 by enhancing the expression of IRF1. MKP-1, through regulation of IRF1 and IL-12, therefore may be an important factor supporting the development of Th1 type of immune response and anti-microbial defense.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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