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Cigarette smoke extracts and cadmium induce COX-2 expression through γ-secretase-mediated p38 MAPK activation in C6 astroglia cells.

PloS one (2019-02-23)
Hyun Joung Lim, Jung Hyun Park, Chulman Jo, Keejung Yoon, Young Ho Koh
ABSTRACT

Exposure to cigarette smoke has been implicated in the progression of cerebrovascular and neurological disorders like stroke through inflammation and blood-brain barrier disruption. In this study, we investigated the signaling cascade activated by cigarette smoke extracts (CSE) and cadmium (Cd) resulting in the COX-2 induction in C6 rat astroglia cells. CSE or Cd induced Notch1 cleavage and activated p38 MAPK and CREB signaling pathways in C6 astroglia cells. Knockdown of nicastrin using siRNA or γ-secretase inhibitors, DAPT and L-685,486, reduced Notch1 cleavage and phosphorylation of p38 MAPK and CREB, while phosphorylation of ERK and JNK remained unaffected. Additionally, the blockage of γ-secretase activity did not show any effect on the phosphorylation of AKT, another upstream activator of CREB, indicating that γ-secretase-mediated CREB activation occurs via p38 MAPK. γ-secretase inhibitor also inhibited the CSE and Cd-mediated increase in the expression of COX-2. Furthermore, recombinant overexpression of Notch1 intracellular domain resulted in an increase in the expression of COX-2. Notch signaling induced by CSE and Cd induced apoptosis in C6 cells. Our results demonstrate that CSE exposure activated the p38 MAPK and CREB-mediated induction in COX-2 expression in astrocytes via γ-secretase-mediated Notch1 signaling. Our data provides novel insights into the potential mechanism of pro-inflammatory response activated by exposure to cigarette smoke.

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