Salusin-β, but not salusin-α, promotes human umbilical vein endothelial cell inflammation via the p38 MAPK/JNK-NF-κB pathway

Cheng-Hua Zhou, Jin Pan, He Huang, Yangzi Zhu, Mingxing Zhang, Lian Liu, Yuqing Wu
PloS One 2014, 9 (9): e107555

OBJECTIVE: Recently, salusin-β has been reported to have pro-atherosclerotic effects, but salusin-α has anti-atherosclerotic effects. Our previous study has shown that salusin-β but not salusin-α promotes vascular inflammation in apoE-deficient mice. However, the underlying mechanism remains unknown. In this study, we observed the effect of salusins on inflammatory responses and the MAPK-NF-κB signaling pathway in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs).

METHODS AND RESULTS: HUVECs were incubated with different concentrations of salusin-α and salusin-β. The levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) were determined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The mRNA expressions of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) were quantified using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The protein expressions of VCAM-1, MCP-1, I-κBα, NF-κB, p-JNK and p-p38 MAPK were measured using western blotting analysis. Our results showed that in HUVECs, salusin-β could up-regulate the levels of IL-6, TNF-α, VCAM-1 and MCP-1, promote I-κBα degradation and NF-κB activation, and increase the phosphorylation of JNK and p38 MAPK. These effects could be inhibited by p38 MAPK inhibitor SB203580 and/or JNK inhibitor SP600125. In contrast, salusin-α could selectively decrease VCAM-1 protein, but did not show any effect on the expressions of VCAM-1 mRNA, TNF-α, IL-6, MCP-1, I-κBα, NF-κB, p-JNK or p-p38 MAPK.

CONCLUSION: Salusin-β was able to promote inflammatory responses in HUVECs via the p38 MAPK-NF-κB and JNK-NF-κB pathways. In contrast, salusin-α failed to show any significant effects on the inflammatory responses in HUVECs. These results provide further insight into the mechanisms behind salusins in vascular inflammation and offer a potential target for the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis.

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