09 February 2018
Bronchial epithelial cell death and airway inflammation induced by cigarette smoke (CS) have been involved in the pathogenesis of COPD. GRP78, belonging to heat shock protein 70 family, has been implicated in cell death and inflammation, while little is known about its roles in COPD. Here, we demonstrate that GRP78 regulates CS-induced necroptosis and injury in bronchial epithelial cells.
GRP78 and necroptosis markers were examined in human bronchial epithelial (HBE) cell line, primary mouse tracheal epithelial cells, and mouse lungs. siRNA targeting GRP78 gene and necroptosis inhibitor were used. Expression of inflammatory cytokines, mucin MUC5AC, and related signaling pathways were detected.
Exposure to CS significantly increased the expression of GRP78 and necroptosis markers in HBE cell line, primary mouse tracheal epithelial cells, and mouse lungs. Inhibition of GRP78 significantly suppressed CS extract (CSE)-induced necroptosis. Furthermore, GRP78–necroptosis cooperatively regulated CSE-induced inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin 6 (IL6), IL8, and mucin MUC5AC in HBE cells, likely through the activation of nuclear factor (NF-κB) and activator protein 1 (AP-1) pathways, respectively.
Taken together, our results demonstrate that GRP78 promotes CSE-induced inflammatory response and mucus hyperproduction in airway epithelial cells, likely through upregulation of necroptosis and subsequent activation of NF-κB and AP-1 pathways. Thus, inhibition of GRP78 and/or inhibition of necroptosis could be the effective therapeutic approaches for the treatment of COPD.