Published online May 14, 2021. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v27.i18.2141
Peer-review started: December 26, 2020
First decision: January 29, 2021
Revised: February 6, 2021
Accepted: March 29, 2021
Article in press: March 29, 2021
Published online: May 14, 2021
Previous reports have suggested that the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathway is involved in the development of severe acute pancreatitis (SAP)-related acute lung injury (ALI). Inhibition of p38 by SB203580 blocked the inflammatory responses in SAP-ALI. However, the precise mechanism associated with p38 is unclear, particularly in pulmonary microvascular endothelial cell (PMVEC) injury.
To determine its role in the tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α)-induced inflammation and apoptosis of PMVECs in vitro. We then conducted in vivo experiments to confirm the effect of SB203580-mediated p38 inhibition on SAP-ALI.
In vitro, PMVEC were transfected with mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 6 (Glu), which constitutively activates p38, and then stimulated with TNF-α. Flow cytometry and western blotting were performed to detect the cell apoptosis and inflammatory cytokine levels, respectively. In vivo, SAP-ALI was induced by 5% sodium taurocholate and three different doses of SB203580 (2.5, 5.0 or 10.0 mg/kg) were intraperitoneally injected prior to SAP induction. SAP-ALI was assessed by performing pulmonary histopathology assays, measuring myeloperoxidase activity, conducting arterial blood gas analyses and measuring TNF-α, interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-6 levels. Lung microvascular permeability was measured by determining bronchoalveolar lavage fluid protein concentration, Evans blue extravasation and ultrastructural changes in PMVECs. The apoptotic death of pulmonary cells was confirmed by performing a terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling analysis and examining the Bcl2, Bax, Bim and cle-caspase3 levels. The proteins levels of P-p38, NFκB, IκB, P-signal transducer and activator of transcription-3, nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2, HO-1 and Myd88 were detected in the lungs to further evaluate the potential mechanism underlying the protective effect of SB203580.
In vitro, mitogen-activated protein kinase (Glu) transfection resulted in higher apoptotic rates and cytokine (IL-1β and IL-6) levels in TNF-α-treated PMVECs. In vivo, SB2035080 attenuated lung histopathological injury, decreased inflammatory activity (TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6 and myeloperoxidase) and preserved pulmonary function. Furthermore, SB203580 significantly reversed changes in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid protein concentration, Evans blue accumulation, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling-positive cell numbers, apoptosis-related proteins (cle-caspase3, Bim and Bax) and endothelial microstructure. Moreover, SB203580 significantly reduced the pulmonary P-p38, NFκB, P-signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 and Myd88 levels but increased the IκB and HO-1 levels.
p38 inhibition may protect against SAP-ALI by alleviating inflammation and the apoptotic death of PMVECs.
Core Tip: We explored the role of the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway in the tumor necrosis factor-alpha-induced inflammation and apoptosis of pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells in vitro and verified the effect of SB203580-mediated p38 inhibition on severe acute pancreatitis-related acute lung injury in rats. p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase overactivation promoted tumor necrosis factor-alpha-induced inflammatory cytokine expression and pulmonary microvascular endothelial cell apoptosis in vitro. SB203580 improved severe acute pancreatitis-related acute lung injury by downregulating P-p38, NFκB, P-SATA3 and Myd88 and upregulating IκB and HO-1, which alleviated inflammation and apoptotic cell death in rats.