Chitosan oligosaccharides inhibit the expression of interleukin-6 in lipopolysaccharide-induced human umbilical vein endothelial cells through p38 and ERK1/2 protein kinases

Hong-Tao Liu, Wen-Ming Li, Xiu-Ying Li, Qing-Song Xu, Qi-Shun Liu, Xue-Fang Bai, Chao Yu, Yu-Guang Du
Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology 2010, 106 (5): 362-71
Chitosan oligosaccharides (COS) have been reported to exert anti-fungal activities, antitumour activities and immuno-enhancing effects. However, the potential roles of COS in the treatment of vascular inflammations remain unknown. In the present study, we examined the effects of COS on interleukin-6 (IL-6) production in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Induction of HUVECs with LPS (100 ng/ml) increased the mRNA expression and protein secretion of IL-6 (versus the vehicle-treated group, p < 0.01), which were significantly reverted by the pre-treatment with COS (50-200 microg/ml) for 24 hr before LPS exposure (versus the LPS-treated group, p < 0.05 or 0.01). Signal transduction studies showed that the pre-treatment of HUVECs with COS (50-200 microg/ml) for 24 hr markedly inhibited the LPS-induced over-expression of phosphorylated p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), phosphorylated ERK1/2 and nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB). Moreover, the LPS-induced NF-kappaB activation was suppressed by the specific ERK1/2 inhibitor PD98059 (30 microM) (versus the LPS-treated group, p < 0.01), but not by the specific p38 MAPK inhibitor SB203580 (25 microM). Additionally, both MAPK inhibitors markedly suppressed LPS-induced IL-6 mRNA expression in HUVECs (versus the LPS-treated group, p < 0.01). In conclusion, our results suggest that COS inhibit LPS-induced up-regulation of IL-6 in HUVECs, and this can be regulated by at least two parallel signalling pathways: one via p38 MAPK pathway independent of NF-kappaB activation and one via ERK1/2 pathway dependent on NF-kappaB activation.


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