Noradrenaline reduces the ATP-stimulated phosphorylation of p38 MAP kinase via beta-adrenergic receptors-cAMP-protein kinase A-dependent mechanism in cultured rat spinal microglia

Norimitsu Morioka, Hirokazu Tanabe, Atsuko Inoue, Toshihiro Dohi, Yoshihiro Nakata
Neurochemistry International 2009, 55 (4): 226-34
To elucidate the involvement of the noradrenergic system in the regulation of spinal microglial activity, we examined the effects of noradrenaline (NA) on the phosphorylation of three MAP kinases (extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), p38, or c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK)) stimulated by ATP in rat cultured spinal microglia using Western blotting. ATP (100 microM) quickly induced the phosphorylation of three MAP kinases and MKK3/6, which are upstream kinases of p38. Under these conditions, NA inhibited only the ATP-stimulated phosphorylation of p38 in a time (30-60 min)- and dose (10-100 microM)-dependent manner, but did not affect those of ERK, JNK, or MKK3/6. The inhibitory action of NA was completely reversed by pretreatment with propranolol, an antagonist for beta-adrenoceptors, or both atenolol and ICI118551, selective antagonists for beta1 and beta2, respectively. Treatment with dibutyryl cAMP or the selective activator of PKA mimicked the inhibitory effect of NA. Furthermore, treatment with KT5720, an inhibitor of protein kinase A, completely blocked the action of NA. These data suggest that NA could control the activation of p38 through the beta1/2-adrenergic pathways, which include the production of cAMP and the activation of PKA. Simultaneously, we found that NA also markedly inhibited the ATP-induced increase in the expression of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha mRNA through beta-adrenergic pathways. Furthermore, preincubation with either actinomycin D or cyclohexamide, general inhibitors of transcription or protein synthesis, respectively, almost completely blocked the inhibitory action of NA on the ATP-stimulated phosphorylation of p38. These results suggest that de novo synthesis of certain factors by NA through beta-adrenoceptors would participate in the modulation of p38 activity. Thus, the inhibitory system via beta1/2-adrenergic pathways in spinal microglia appears to have an important role in the modulation of microglial functions through the downregulation of p38 activity.

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