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

Expression and regulation of the macrophage inflammatory protein-1 alpha gene by nicotine in rat alveolar macrophages.

Cigarette smoking causes inflammation mainly confined to the airway and lung. Nicotine is one of the primary constituents in cigarette smoke. Alveolar macrophages apparently play a pivotal role in mediating pulmonary inflammation via the production of chemokines. Macrophage inflammatory protein-1 alpha (MIP-1 alpha), a member of CC chemokines, has been shown to contribute to monocyte/macrophage and neutrophil chemotaxis and activation. Our previous work demonstrated that MIP-1 alpha mRNA expression in macrophages is induced by a variety of stimuli. In the present study, we further investigate whether nicotine can regulate the gene expression of MIP-1 alpha in macrophages and determine the mechanism leading to increased expression. A rat alveolar macrophage (RAM) cell line, NR8383, was treated with nicotine at a dose of 3.1, 31, 310 microM, or 3.1 mM. Northern blot analysis showed that the induction of MIP-1 alpha mRNA expression was dose-dependent. To define the time course of the inflammatory response, RAM cells were exposed to 31 microM nicotine, MIP-1 alpha mRNA was induced as early as 1 h after treatment, was maximally expressed at 4 and 6 hours, and reduced by 8 hours. Western blot analysis demonstrated a single band with an estimated molecular weight of 10 kD for MIP-1 alpha which was induced after nicotine treatment, suggesting that expression of MIP-1 alpha mRNA could reflect in protein synthesis. In addition. the increase in MIP-1 alpha mRNA expression induced by nicotine was attenuated by co-treatment with the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC), at doses of 10 and 20 mM, suggesting that the induction of MIP-1 alpha mRNA is mediated via the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). To further investigate transcriptional regulation of the MIP-1 alpha gene expression, RAM cells were exposed to nicotine. MIP-1 alpha mRNA levels were significantly increased in nuclear RNA preparations, indicating that transcriptional activation is involved in increased expression of MIP-1 alpha mRNA. Moreover, we performed RNA decay assay by measuring the half-life of MIP-1 alpha mRNA. Treatment of RAM cells with the transcriptional inhibitor actinomycin D following exposure to nicotine revealed that the half-life of MIP-1 alpha mRNA was markedly increased by nicotine treatment, supporting a role of post-transcriptional stabilization in MIP-1 alpha gene expression. These observations indicate that nicotine can induce MIP-1 alpha mRNA expression and protein synthesis in RAM cells, mediating, at least in part, via the generation of ROS. In addition, the increase in MIP-1 alpha mRNA level involves, both transcriptional activation and post-transcriptional stabilization.[1]


  1. Expression and regulation of the macrophage inflammatory protein-1 alpha gene by nicotine in rat alveolar macrophages. Chong, I.W., Lin, S.R., Hwang, J.J., Huang, M.S., Wang, T.H., Hung, J.Y., Paulauskis, J.D. Eur. Cytokine Netw. (2002) [Pubmed]
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