c-Src-dependent EGF receptor transactivation contributes to ET-1-induced COX-2 expression in brain microvascular endothelial cells
- Equal contributors
1 Department of Nursing, Division of Basic Medical Sciences, Chang Gung University of Science and Technology, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan
2 Department of Anesthetics, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and College of Medicine, Chang Gung University, Kwei-San, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan
3 Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, and Health Aging Research Center, College of Medicine, Chang Gung University, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan
4 School of Medicine, National Yang Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan
5 Department of Pharmacology, Chang Gung University, 259 Wen-Hwa 1st Road, Kwei-San, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan
Journal of Neuroinflammation 2012, 9:152 doi:10.1186/1742-2094-9-152Published: 2 July 2012
Endothelin-1 (ET-1) is elevated and participates in the regulation of several brain inflammatory disorders. The deleterious effects of ET-1 on endothelial cells may aggravate brain inflammation mediated through the upregulation of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) gene expression. However, the signaling mechanisms underlying ET-1-induced COX-2 expression in brain microvascular endothelial cells remain unclear.
The goal of this study was to examine whether ET-1-induced COX-2 expression and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) release were mediated through a c-Src-dependent transactivation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) pathway in brain microvascular endothelial cells (bEnd.3 cells).
The expression of COX-2 induced by ET-1 was evaluated by Western blotting and RT-PCR analysis. The COX-2 regulatory signaling pathways were investigated by pretreatment with pharmacological inhibitors, short hairpin RNA (shRNA) or small interfering RNA (siRNA) transfection, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP), and promoter activity reporter assays. Finally, we determined the PGE2 level as a marker of functional activity of COX-2 expression.
First, the data showed that ET-1-induced COX-2 expression was mediated through a c-Src-dependent transactivation of EGFR/PI3K/Akt cascade. Next, we demonstrated that ET-1 stimulated activation (phosphorylation) of c-Src/EGFR/Akt/MAPKs (ERK1/2, p38 MAPK, and JNK1/2) and then activated the c-Jun/activator protein 1 (AP-1) via Gq/i protein-coupled ETB receptors. The activated c-Jun/AP-1 bound to its corresponding binding sites within COX-2 promoter, thereby turning on COX-2 gene transcription. Ultimately, upregulation of COX-2 by ET-1 promoted PGE2 biosynthesis and release in bEnd.3 cells.
These results demonstrate that in bEnd.3 cells, c-Src-dependent transactivation of EGFR/PI3K/Akt and MAPKs linking to c-Jun/AP-1 cascade is essential for ET-1-induced COX-2 upregulation. Understanding the mechanisms of COX-2 expression and PGE2 release regulated by ET-1/ETB system on brain microvascular endothelial cells may provide rational therapeutic interventions for brain injury and inflammatory diseases.