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Airway smooth muscle cells (ASMCs) secrete eotaxin and RANTES (regulated on activation, normal T-cell expressed and secreted) in response to tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α, which is inhibited by the nuclear factor (NF)-κB inhibitor dimethylfumarate (DMF). NF-κB/IκB (inhibitor of NF-κB) glutathionylation and changes in chromatin remodelling can inhibit NF-κB activity. In this study, we determined whether NF-κB/IκB glutathionylation and reduced histone H3 phosphorylation might underlie the inhibitory effect of DMF on NF-κB activity, and eotaxin and RANTES secretion. Primary human ASMCs were treated with DMF, diamide and/or glutathione (GSH) ethylester (OEt) prior to TNF-α stimulation and were subsequently analysed by ELISA, electrophoretic mobility shift assay, immunofluorescence, co-immunoprecipitation or immunoblotting. DMF reduced intracellular GSH and induced IκBα glutathionylation (IκBα-SSG), which inhibited IκBα degradation, NF-κB p65 nuclear entry and NF-κB/DNA binding. In addition, DMF inhibited the phosphorylation of histone H3, which was possibly mediated by the inhibitory effect of DMF on mitogen- and stress-activated protein kinase (MSK)-1. However, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), extracellular signal-regulated kinase MAPK and MAPK phosphatase-1, upstream of MSK-1, were not inhibited by DMF. Importantly, DMF-mediated effects on NF-κB, histone H3, eotaxin and RANTES were reversed by addition of GSH-OEt. Our data suggest that DMF inhibits NF-κB-dependent eotaxin and RANTES secretion by reduction of GSH with subsequent induction of IκBα-SSG and inhibition of histone H3 phosphorylation. Our findings offer new potential drug targets to reduce airway inflammation in asthma.


P Seidel, M Roth, Q Ge, I Merfort, C T S'ng, A J Ammit. IκBα glutathionylation and reduced histone H3 phosphorylation inhibit eotaxin and RANTES. The European respiratory journal. 2011 Dec;38(6):1444-52

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PMID: 21719482

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