The Journal of biological chemistry

Arsenite exposure of cultured airway epithelial cells activates kappaB-dependent interleukin-8 gene expression in the absence of nuclear factor-kappaB nuclear translocation.

PMID 10521501


Airway epithelial cells respond to certain environmental stresses by mounting a proinflammatory response, which is characterized by enhanced synthesis and release of the neutrophil chemotactic and activating factor interleukin-8 (IL-8). IL-8 expression is regulated at the transcriptional level in part by the transcription factor nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB. We compared intracellular signaling mediating IL-8 gene expression in bronchial epithelial cells cultured in vitro and exposed to two inducers of cellular stress, sodium arsenite (As(III)), and vanadyl sulfate (V(IV)). Unstimulated bronchial epithelial cells expressed IL-8, and exposure to both metal compounds significantly enhanced IL-8 expression. Overexpression of a dominant negative inhibitor of NF-kappaB depressed both basal and metal-induced IL-8 expression. Low levels of nuclear NF-kappaB were constitutively present in unstimulated cultures. These levels were augmented by exposure to V(IV), but not As(III). Accordingly, V(IV) induced IkappaBalpha breakdown and NF-kappaB nuclear translocation, whereas As(III) did not. However, both As(III) and V(IV) enhanced kappaB-dependent transcription. In addition, As(III) activation of an IL-8 promoter-reporter construct was partially kappaB-dependent. These data suggested that As(III) enhanced IL-8 gene transcription independently of IkappaB breakdown and nuclear translocation of NF-kappaB in part by enhancing transcription mediated by low levels of constitutive nuclear NF-kappaB.