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Macrophage glucocorticoid receptors regulate Toll-like receptor 4-mediated inflammatory responses by selective inhibition of p38 MAP kinase.


PMID 17255352

Abstract

To explore the role of glucocorticoids in regulation of kinase pathways during innate immune responses, we generated mice with conditional deletion of glucocorticoid receptor (GR) in macrophages (MGRKO). Activation of toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) caused greater mortality and cytokine production in MGRKO mice than in controls. Ex vivo, treatment with dexamethasone (Dex) markedly inhibited LPS-mediated induction of inflammatory genes in control but not GR-deficient macrophages. We show that Dex inhibits p38 MAPK, but not PI3K/Akt, ERK, or JNK, in control macrophages. Associated with p38 inhibition, Dex induced MAP kinase phosphatase-1 (MKP-1) in control, but not MGRKO, macrophages. Consistent with the ex vivo studies, treatment with a p38 MAPK-specific inhibitor resulted in rescue of MGRKO mice from LPS-induced lethality. Taken together, we identify p38 MAPK and its downstream targets as essential for GR-mediated immunosuppression in macrophages.