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Immunology - Microbiology - Molecular Biology - Physiology - Respiratory Medicine

Anti-Inflammatory Role of the cAMP Effectors Epac and PKA: Implications in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Published: Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Author: Anouk Oldenburger et al.

by Anouk Oldenburger, Sara S. Roscioni, Esther Jansen, Mark H. Menzen, Andrew J. Halayko, Wim Timens, Herman Meurs, Harm Maarsingh, Martina Schmidt

Cigarette smoke-induced release of pro-inflammatory cytokines including interleukin-8 (IL-8) from inflammatory as well as structural cells in the airways, including airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells, may contribute to the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Despite the wide use of pharmacological treatment aimed at increasing intracellular levels of the endogenous suppressor cyclic AMP (cAMP), little is known about its exact mechanism of action. We report here that next to the ß2-agonist fenoterol, direct and specific activation of either exchange protein directly activated by cAMP (Epac) or protein kinase A (PKA) reduced cigarette smoke extract (CSE)-induced IL-8 mRNA expression and protein release by human ASM cells. CSE-induced I?Ba-degradation and p65 nuclear translocation, processes that were primarily reversed by Epac activation. Further, CSE increased extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) phosphorylation, which was selectively reduced by PKA activation. CSE decreased Epac1 expression, but did not affect Epac2 and PKA expression. Importantly, Epac1 expression was also reduced in lung tissue from COPD patients. In conclusion, Epac and PKA decrease CSE-induced IL-8 release by human ASM cells via inhibition of NF-?B and ERK, respectively, pointing at these cAMP effectors as potential targets for anti-inflammatory therapy in COPD. However, cigarette smoke exposure may reduce anti-inflammatory effects of cAMP elevating agents via down-regulation of Epac1.