Cigarette smoke condensate stimulates urokinase production through the generation of reactive oxygen species and activation of the mitogen activated protein kinase pathways in human gingival fibroblasts

R Gonzalez, R Arancibia, M Cáceres, J Martínez, P C Smith
Journal of Periodontal Research 2009, 44 (3): 386-94

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Tobacco smoking is a significant risk factor for periodontal disease. It has been suggested that smoking may alter connective tissue remodeling in the periodontium. In the present study, we investigated whether cigarette smoke condensate modulates the production of the serine protease urokinase in human gingival fibroblasts.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Primary cultures of human gingival fibroblasts were stimulated with cigarette smoke condensate. Urokinase production was evaluated through casein zymography and western blotting. Plasmin activation was assessed by means of a radial diffusion assay. The roles of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and reactive oxygen species in cigarette smoke condensate-stimulated urokinase production were studied using distinct selective inhibitors (SP600125, PD98059, N-acetyl cysteine). Reactive oxygen species production was determined using a fluorometric assay. Activation of ERK and JNK pathways were evaluated using western blots.

RESULTS: In gingival fibroblasts, cigarette smoke condensate potently stimulated urokinase production and plasmin activation. Cigarette smoke condensate-stimulated urokinase production was dependent on the activity of ERK/JNK pathways and was inhibited by the reactive oxygen species scavenger, N-acetyl cysteine. Cigarette smoke condensate strongly stimulated ERK and JNK phosphorylation and the generation of reactive oxygen species.

CONCLUSION: Cigarette smoke condensate stimulates urokinase production and plasmin activation in gingival fibroblasts. Moreover, cigarette smoke condensate-stimulated urokinase production depends on both the activation of ERK/JNK pathways and on the generation of intracellular reactive oxygen species. These results show that cigarette smoke may alter connective tissue remodeling by inducing production of the urokinase-type plasminogen activator through specific signaling pathways.

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