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J Biol Chem. 2002 Mar 8;277(10):7713-9. Epub 2001 Dec 27.

Lithium induces NF-kappa B activation and interleukin-8 production in human intestinal epithelial cells.

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Department of Surgery, UMD-New Jersey Medical School, Newark, New Jersey 07103, USA.


Lithium has been documented to regulate apoptosis and apoptotic gene expression via NF-kappa B and mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase-dependent mechanisms. Since both NF-kappa B and MAP kinases are also important mediators of inflammatory gene expression, we investigated the effect of lithium on NF-kappa B- and MAP kinase-mediated inflammatory gene expression. Incubation of human intestinal epithelial cells with lithium induced both enhanced NF-kappa B DNA binding and NF-kappa B-dependent transcriptional activity. In addition, lithium stimulated activation of both the p38 and p42/44 MAP kinases. This lithium-induced up-regulation of NF-kappa B and MAP kinase activation was associated with an enhancement of interleukin-8 mRNA accumulation as well as an increase in interleukin-8 protein release. These proinflammatory effects of lithium were, in large part, mediated by activation of Na(+)/H(+) exchangers, because selective blockade of Na(+)/H(+) exchangers prevented the lithium-induced intestinal cell inflammatory response. These results demonstrate that lithium stimulates inflammatory gene expression via NF-kappa B and MAP kinase activation.

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