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Inhibitors of Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases Downregulate COX-2 Expression in Human Chondrocytes

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      Inducible prostaglandin synthase (cyclooxygenase-2, COX-2) is expressed in rheumatoid and osteoarthritic cartilage and produces high amounts of proinflammatory prostanoids in the joint. In the present study we investigated the effects of the inhibitors of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways Erk1/2, p38, and JNK on COX-2 expression and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) production in human chondrocytes. Proinflammatory cytokine IL-1β caused a transient activation of Erk1/2, p38, and JNK in immortalized human T/C28a2 chondrocytes and that was followed by enhanced COX-2 expression and PGE2 production. PD98059 (an inhibitor of Erk1/2 pathway) suppressed IL-1-induced COX-2 expression and PGE2 production in a dose-dependent manner, and seemed to have an inhibitory effect on COX-2 activity. SB203580 (an inhibitor of p38 pathway) but not its negative control compound SB202474 inhibited COX-2 protein and mRNA expression and subsequent PGE2 synthesis at micromolar drug concentrations. SP600125 (a recently developed JNK inhibitor) but not its negative control compound N1-methyl-1,9-pyrazolanthrone downregulated COX-2 expression and PGE2 formation in a dose-dependent manner. SP600125 did not downregulate IL-1-induced COX-2 mRNA expression when measured 2 h after addition of IL-1β but suppressed mRNA levels in the later time points suggesting post-transcriptional regulation. Our results suggest that activation of Erk1/2, p38, and JNK pathways belongs to the signaling cascades that mediate the upregulation of COX-2 expression and PGE2 production in human chondrocytes exposed to proinflammatory cytokine IL-1β.

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        Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) is a stress-activated protein kinase that can be induced by inflammatory cytokines, bacterial endotoxin, osmotic shock, UV radiation, and hypoxia. We report the identification of an anthrapyrazolone series with significant inhibition of JNK1, -2, and -3 (K(i) = 0.19 microM). SP600125 is a reversible ATP-competitive inhibitor with >20-fold selectivity vs. a range of kinases and enzymes tested. In cells, SP600125 dose dependently inhibited the phosphorylation of c-Jun, the expression of inflammatory genes COX-2, IL-2, IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha, and prevented the activation and differentiation of primary human CD4 cell cultures. In animal studies, SP600125 blocked (bacterial) lipopolysaccharide-induced expression of tumor necrosis factor-alpha and inhibited anti-CD3-induced apoptosis of CD4(+) CD8(+) thymocytes. Our study supports targeting JNK as an important strategy in inflammatory disease, apoptotic cell death, and cancer.
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            Author and article information

            1The Immunopharmacology Research Group, Medical School, University of Tampere, and Tampere University Hospital, Research Unit, 33014 Tampere, Finland
            2Rheumatology Division, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and New England Baptist Bone & Joint Institute, Harvard Institutes of Medicine, Boston, 02215 MA, USA
            Author notes
            Mediators Inflamm
            Mediators of Inflammation
            Hindawi Publishing Corporation
            24 October 2005
            : 2005
            : 5
            : 249-255
            Hindawi Publishing Corporation

            This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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