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Exp Cell Res. 2019 Jun 21. pii: S0014-4827(19)30312-X. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2019.06.017. [Epub ahead of print]

Up-regulated cathepsin C induces macrophage M1 polarization through FAK-triggered p38 MAPK/NF-κB pathway.

Author information

1
Department of Anatomy, Dalian Medical University, No. 9 Lvshun South Road Western Section, Lvshun District, Dalian, 116044, PR China. Electronic address: imoonsk@hotmail.com.
2
Graduate School of Dalian Medical University, No. 9 Lvshun South Road Western Section, Lvshun District, Dalian, 116044, PR China. Electronic address: 790418453@qq.com.
3
Graduate School of Dalian Medical University, No. 9 Lvshun South Road Western Section, Lvshun District, Dalian, 116044, PR China. Electronic address: 741517237@qq.com.
4
Department of Anatomy, Dalian Medical University, No. 9 Lvshun South Road Western Section, Lvshun District, Dalian, 116044, PR China. Electronic address: 308420575@qq.com.
5
Department of Anatomy, Dalian Medical University, No. 9 Lvshun South Road Western Section, Lvshun District, Dalian, 116044, PR China. Electronic address: 13049582@qq.com.
6
Liaoning Provincial Key Laboratory of Brain Diseases, Dalian Medical University, No. 9 Lvshun South Road Western Section, Lvshun District, Dalian, 116044, PR China. Electronic address: 1486456278@qq.com.
7
College ofBasic Medical Sciences, Dalian Medical University, No. 9 Lvshun South Road Western Section, Lvshun District, Dalian, 116044, PR China. Electronic address: 1957825811@qq.com.
8
Department of Anatomy, Dalian Medical University, No. 9 Lvshun South Road Western Section, Lvshun District, Dalian, 116044, PR China. Electronic address: 2286130554@qq.com.
9
Department of Anatomy, College of Basic Medical Sciences, National-Local Joint Engineering Research Center for Drug-Research and Development (R&D) of Neurodegenerative Diseases, Dalian Medical University, No. 9 Lvshun South Road Western Section, Lvshun District, Dalian, 116044, PR China. Electronic address: ma_jianmei@hotmail.com.

Abstract

Increasing evidence indicates that in response to environmental changes, macrophages can dynamically change into two main functional phenotypes, namely M1 and M2. Depending on these different phenotypes, macrophages can produce either pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory factors which may affect the outcome of inflammation. Mastering the switching of M1/M2 phenotypes may provide therapeutic approaches to chronic inflammatory disease, such as atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, even the metabolic disorders. Cathepsin C (CTSC), as a member of the papain family of cysteine proteases, is a key enzyme in the activation of granule serine proteases thereby involved in modulating the inflammatory responses. Moreover, abundant expression of CTSC has been found in M1 macrophages in plaques of atherosclerosis and related to the progression of disease. However, whether CTSC can regulate macrophage activation status in inflammatory responses has not been fully investigated. In the present study, using peritoneal macrophages (PMs) and mouse macrophage cell line RAW264.7 treated with LPS and active monomer of CTSC, we found that CTSC was not only expressed in macrophages in M1 activation status, but also facilitated macrophages towards M1 phenotype, suggesting a self-activation mechanism involved in this process which may lead to a vicious circle in chronic inflammation. Then we attempted to explore the underlying molecular mechanisms of CTSC resulting in M1 activation. Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) is one of the non-receptor cytoplasmic protein tyrosine kinases, serving as an upstream mediator that leads to transcription of many pro-inflammatory factors. We found FAK expression was up-regulated at both mRNA and protein levels following CTSC stimulation, and FAK phosphorylation level was also significantly increased. The p38MAPK/NF-κB pathway, as the downstream of FAK, were also found activated in CTSC-treated macrophages, suggesting that CTSC may promote macrophage towards M1 activation status through FAK-induced p38MAPK/NF-κB signaling pathway activation. Our study provides a new therapeutic target in the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases.

KEYWORDS:

Cathepsin C; FAK; M1 activation status; Macrophage; p38MAPK /NF-κB signaling pathway

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