Inserm, Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale
Faculté de pharmacie, Aix Marseille Université

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The p38 mitogen activated protein kinase pathway plays a critical role in thrombin-induced endothelial chemokine production and leukocyte recruitment

V. Marin, C. Farnarier, S. Grès, S. Kaplanski, MS. Su, CA Dinarello, G. Kaplanski. Blood, 2001, 98 : 667-73


Thrombin, the terminal serine protease in the coagulation cascade, is a proinflammatory molecule in vivo and induces endothelial activation in vitro. The cellular signaling mechanisms involved in this function are unknown. The role of the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway in thrombin-induced chemokine production was studied. Phosphorylation of both p38 MAPK and its substrate, ATF-2, was observed in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) stimulated with thrombin, with a maximum after 5 minutes of stimulation. Using the selective p38 MAPK inhibitor SB203580, there was a significant decrease in thrombin-induced interleukin-8 (IL-8) and monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) protein production and messenger RNA steady-state levels. In addition, SB203580 decreased IL-8 and MCP-1 production induced by the thrombin receptor-1 agonist peptide (TRAP), suggesting functional links between the thrombin G protein-coupled receptor and the p38 MAPK pathway. Furthermore, endothelial activation in the presence of SB203580 decreased the chemotactic activity of thrombin-stimulated HUVEC supernatant on neutrophils and monocytic cells. In contrast, the p42/p44 MAPK pathway did not appear to be involved in thrombin- or TRAP-induced endothelial chemokine production, because there was no reduction in the presence of the p42/p44-specific inhibitor PD98059. These results demonstrate that the p38 rather than p42/44 MAPK signaling pathway plays an important role in thrombin-induced endothelial proinflammatory activation and suggest that inhibition of p38 MAPK may be an interesting target for anti-inflammatory strategies in vascular diseases combining thrombosis and inflammation. (Blood. 2001 ;98:667-673)