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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

ERK signaling mediates the induction of inflammatory cytokines by bufalin in human monocytic cells.

Treatment of human leukemia THP-1 cells with bufalin, a specific inhibitor of Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase, sequentially induces c-fos and inflammatory cytokines interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) gene expressions before the appearance of mature phenotypes of monocytic cells. In this study we examined the signal transduction leading to bufalin-induced gene expressions. Bufalin selectively activated extracellular signal-regulated kinase ( ERK), compared with other mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase family members. Pretreatment of THP-1 cells with PD-98059, an inhibitor of the ERK-kinase cascade, abolished bufalin-induced c-fos and IL-1 beta gene expressions, indicating that the ERK-kinase cascade mediates the induction of inflammatory cytokines by bufalin. Inhibition of the Na(+)/Ca(2+) exchanger by KB-R7943 and of protein kinase C (PKC) by Ro-31-8220 suppressed ERK activation and gene expressions of c-fos and IL-1 beta. These findings suggest that Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase inhibition by bufalin induces calcium influx and thereby activates PKC and ERK. In cells treated with an inhibitor of p38 MAP kinases, SB-203580, bufalin-mediated ERK activation became persistent and the induction of IL-1 beta and TNF-alpha expressions was significantly augmented. These results suggest that cross talk in bufalin-mediated ERK activation is negatively regulated by endogenous p38 MAP kinase activations.[1]


  1. ERK signaling mediates the induction of inflammatory cytokines by bufalin in human monocytic cells. Kurosawa, M., Numazawa, S., Tani, Y., Yoshida, T. Am. J. Physiol., Cell Physiol. (2000) [Pubmed]
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