Pro-inflammatory cytokines stimulate mitogen-activated protein kinase subfamilies, increase phosphorylation of c-Jun and ATF2 and upregulate c-Jun protein in neonatal rat ventricular myocytes

A Clerk, J G Harrison, C S Long, P H Sugden
Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology 1999, 31 (12): 2087-99
Pro-inflammatory cytokines may be important in the pathophysiological responses of the heart. We investigated the activation of the three mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) subfamilies ¿c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNKs), p38-MAPKs and extracellularly-responsive kinases (ERKs) by interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta) or tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) in primary cultures of myocytes isolated from neonatal rat ventricles. Both cytokines stimulated a rapid (maximal within 10 min) increase in JNK activity. Although activation of JNKs by IL-1 beta was transient returning to control values within 1 h, the response to TNF alpha was sustained. IL-1 beta and TNF alpha also stimulated p38-MAPK phosphorylation, but the response to IL-1 beta was consistently greater than TNF alpha. Both cytokines activated ERKs, but to a lesser degree than that induced by phorbol esters. The transcription factors, c-Jun and ATF2, are phosphorylated by the MAPKs and are implicated in the upregulation of c-Jun. IL-1 beta and TNF alpha stimulated the phosphorylation of c-Jun and ATF2. However, IL-1 beta induced a greater increase in c-Jun protein. Inhibitors of protein kinase C (PKC) (Ro318220, GF109203X) and the ERK cascade (PD98059) attenuated the increase in c-Jun induced by IL-1 beta, but LY294002 (an inhibitor of phosphatidylinositol 3' kinase) and SB203580 (an inhibitor of p38-MAPK, which also inhibits certain JNK isoforms) had no effect. These data illustrate that some of the pathological effects of IL-1 beta and TNF alpha may be mediated through the MAPK cascades, and that the ERK cascade, rather than JNKs or p38-MAPKs, are implicated in the upregulation of c-Jun by IL-1 beta.

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