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      MAPK/FoxA2-mediated cigarette smoke-induced squamous metaplasia of bronchial epithelial cells

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          To explore the effect of cigarette smoke (CS) on the development of squamous metaplasia in human airway epithelial cells and the role of MAPK- and FoxA2-signaling pathways in the process.

          Materials and methods

          In an in vitro study, we treated the bronchial epithelial cell line BEAS2B with CS extract, followed by treatment with the ERK inhibitor U0126, the JNK inhibitor SP600125, or the p38 inhibitor SB203580. In vivo, we used a CS-induced rat model. After treatment with CS with or without MAPK inhibitors for 90 days, lung tissues were harvested. p-ERK, p-p38 and p-JNK protein levels in cells and lung tissue were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, mRNA- and protein-expression profiles of FoxA2, E-cadherin, CD44, and ZO1 were measured using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting, respectively, and morphological changes in bronchial epithelial cells were observed using lung-tissue staining.


          In both the in vitro and in vivo studies, phosphorylation of the ERK1/2, JNK, and p38 proteins was significantly increased ( P<0.05) and mRNA and protein expression of E-cadherin and FoxA2 significantly decreased ( P<0.05) compared with the control group. ERK, JNK, and p38 inhibitors reversed the CS-extract-induced changes in E-cadherin, CD44, and ZO1 mRNA and protein expression ( P<0.05), decreased p-ERK, p-p38, and p-JNK protein levels in cells and lung tissue, suppressed bronchial epithelial hyperplasia and local squamous metaplasia, and decreased FoxA2 expression.


          MAPK and FoxA2 mediate CS-induced squamous metaplasia. MAPK inhibitors upregulate FoxA2, resulting in a reduction in the degree of squamous metaplasia.

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          Most cited references 25

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          Animal models of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

          The mechanisms involved in the genesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are poorly defined. This area is complicated and difficult to model because COPD consists of four separate anatomic lesions (emphysema, small airway remodeling, pulmonary hypertension, and chronic bronchitis) and a functional lesion, acute exacerbation; moreover, the disease in humans develops over decades. This review discusses the various animal models that have been used to attempt to recreate human COPD and the advantages and disadvantages of each. None of the models reproduces the exact changes seen in humans, but cigarette smoke-induced disease appears to come the closest, and genetically modified animals also, in some instances, shed light on processes that appear to play a role.
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            The FoxA factors in organogenesis and differentiation.

            The genetic analysis of the Foxa genes in both total and conditional mutant mice has clearly established that organogenesis of multiple systems is controlled by this subfamily of winged helix transcription factors. These discoveries followed the establishment of the conceptional framework of the mechanism of action of the FoxA proteins as 'pioneer factors' that can engage chromatin before other transcription factors. Recent molecular and genomic studies have also shown that FoxA proteins can facilitate binding of several nuclear receptors to their respective targets in a context-dependent manner, greatly increasing the range and importance of FoxA factors in biology. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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              Postimplantation expression patterns indicate a role for the mouse forkhead/HNF-3 alpha, beta and gamma genes in determination of the definitive endoderm, chordamesoderm and neuroectoderm.

              The HNF-3 alpha, beta and gamma genes constitute a family of transcription factors that are required for hepatocyte-specific gene expression of a number of genes, e.g. transthyretin, alpha-1 antitrypsin and tyrosine aminotransferase. These genes share a highly conserved DNA-binding domain first found in the Drosophila gene, forkhead, which is required for the normal patterning of the developing gut and central nervous system in Drosophila. In adult mouse tissues, transcripts from HNF-3 alpha and beta have been localised to the liver, intestine and lung, whereas HNF-3 gamma is found in the liver, intestine and testis. In light of the early developmental significance of forkhead in Drosophila, we have compared the patterns of expression of HNF-3 alpha, beta and gamma mRNAs during murine embryogenesis. We find that these genes are sequentially activated during development in the definitive endoderm. HNF-3 beta mRNA is expressed in the node at the anterior end of the primitive streak in all three germ layers and is the first gene of this family to be activated. Subsequently, HNF-3 alpha is transcribed in the primitive endoderm in the region of the invaginating foregut and HNF-3 gamma appears upon hindgut differentiation. These genes have different anterior boundaries of mRNA expression in the developing endoderm and transcripts are found in all endoderm-derived structures that differentiate posterior to this boundary. Therefore, we propose that these genes define regionalization within the definitive endoderm. Furthermore, differential mRNA expression of HNF-3 alpha and beta is detected in cells of the ventral neural epithelium, chordamesoderm and notochord. In the neural epithelium, expression of HNF-3 alpha and beta mRNA becomes localised to cells of the floor plate. We propose that, in addition to their characterised requirement for liver-specific gene expression, HNF-3 alpha and beta are required for mesoderm and neural axis formation. We also conclude that HNF-3 beta is the true orthologue of the Drosophila forkhead gene.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                21 November 2017
                : 12
                : 3341-3351
                Department of Respiratory Medicine, Qingpu Branch of Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Chunling Du, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Qingpu Branch of Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, 1158 Gongyuan East Road, Qingpu, Shanghai 201700, China, Tel +86 21 6971 9190, Fax +86 21 6971 9128, Email duchunling966@

                These authors contributed equally to this work

                © 2017 Du et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                mapk, foxa2, cigarette smoke, bronchial epithelial cell, squamous metaplasia


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