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Tumor Necrosis Factor-α Regulates Heme Oxygenase-1 Expression in Endothelial Cells via the Phosphorylation of JNK/p38

Authors: Chan-Jung Liang, Shu-Huei Wang, Pei-Jhen Wu, Jaw-Shiun Tsai, Chau-Chung Wu, Yuh-Lien Chen


Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), an enzyme degrading heme to carbon monoxide, iron, and biliverdin, has been recognized as playing a crucial role in cellular defense against stressful conditions, not only related to heme release. In the present study, the effects of TNF-a on the expression of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) in human aortic endothelial cells (HAECs) as well as the related mechanisms were investigated. 10 ng/mL TNF-α treatment significantly increased HO-1 expression after 6h, then a further increase at 12h and declined at 24h. Treatment with 2 ng/mL of TNF-a after 12 h resulted in a significant increase in HO-1 expression, which peaked at 10 ng/mL, then declined at 20 ng/mL. TNF-α induced HO-1 expression and then HO-1 expression reduced  vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) expression. Phosphorylation studies of ERK1/2, JNK, and p38, three subgroups of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) demonstrated TNF-α-induced ERK1/2, JNK, and p38 phosphorylation. The increase in HO-1 expression in response to TNF-α treatment was affected by pretreatment with SP600125 (a JNK inhibitor) and SB203580 (a p38 inhibitor), not with PD98059 (an ERK1/2 inhibitor). The expression of HO-1 was stronger in aortas of TNF-α-treated apo-E deficient mice when compared with control mice. These results suggest that low dose of TNF-α treatment notably induced HO-1 expression was mediated through JNK/p38 phosphorylation and may have a protective potential in cardiovascular diseases and inflammatory response through the regulation of HO-1 expression.

Keywords: endothelial cells, Heme oxygenase-1 inflammation, mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs)

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