A selective estrogen receptor modulator inhibits TNF-alpha-induced apoptosis by activating ERK1/2 signaling pathway in vascular endothelial cells

Jing Yu, Masato Eto, Masahiro Akishita, Tetsuro Okabe, Yasuyoshi Ouchi
Vascular Pharmacology 2009, 51 (1): 21-8
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF-alpha) is a pleiotropic cytokine exerting both inflammatory and cell death activity and is thought to play a role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. The present study was designed to examine whether the raloxifene analogue, LY117018 could inhibit TNF-alpha-induced apoptosis in vascular endothelial cells and to clarify the involved mechanisms. Apoptosis of endothelial cells was determined by DNA fragmentation assay and the activation of caspase-3. LY117018 significantly inhibited TNF-alpha-induced caspase-3 activation and cell DNA fragmentation levels in bovine carotid artery endothelial cells. The inhibitory effect of LY117018 was abolished by an estrogen receptor antagonist ICI 182,780. p38 MAPK, JNK, ERK1/2 and Akt have been shown to act as apoptotic or anti-apoptotic signals. TNF-alpha stimulated the phosphorylation levels of p38 MAPK, JNK, ERK1/2 and Akt in vascular endothelial cells. TNF-alpha-induced apoptosis was significantly decreased by SB203580, a p38 MAPK inhibitor or SP600125, a JNK inhibitor, but was enhanced by an ERK1/2 pathway inhibitor, PD98059 or a PI3-kinase/Akt pathway inhibitor, wortmannin. The anti-apoptotic effect of LY117018 was abrogated only by PD98059 but was not affected by the inhibitors for p38 MAPK, JNK, or Akt. LY117018 stimulated the further increase in phosphorylation of ERK1/2 in TNF-alpha treated endothelial cells but it did not affect phosphorylation levels of p38 MAPK, JNK or Akt. These results suggest that LY 110718 prevents caspase-3 dependent apoptosis induced by TNF-alpha in vascular endothelial cells through activation of the estrogen receptors and the ERK1/2 signaling pathway.

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