Journal of neuroinflammation

NADPH oxidase-mediated redox signal contributes to lipoteichoic acid-induced MMP-9 upregulation in brain astrocytes.

PMID 22643046


Lipoteichoic acid (LTA) is a component of gram-positive bacterial cell walls and may be elevated in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients suffering from meningitis. Among matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), MMP-9 has been observed in patients with brain inflammatory diseases and may contribute to the pathology of brain diseases. Moreover, several studies have suggested that increased oxidative stress is implicated in the pathogenesis of brain inflammation and injury. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying LTA-induced redox signal and MMP-9 expression in brain astrocytes remain unclear. Herein we explored whether LTA-induced MMP-9 expression was mediated through redox signals in rat brain astrocytes (RBA-1 cells). Upregulation of MMP-9 by LTA was evaluated by zymographic and RT-PCR analyses. Next, the MMP-9 regulatory pathways were investigated by pretreatment with pharmacological inhibitors or transfection with small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), Western blotting, and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)-PCR and promoter activity reporter assays. Moreover, we determined the cell functional changes by migration assay. These results showed that LTA induced MMP-9 expression via a PKC(α)-dependent pathway. We further demonstrated that PKCα stimulated p47phox/NADPH oxidase 2 (Nox2)-dependent reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and then activated the ATF2/AP-1 signals. The activated-ATF2 bound to the AP-1-binding site of MMP-9 promoter, and thereby turned on MMP-9 gene transcription. Additionally, the co-activator p300 also contributed to these responses. Functionally, LTA-induced MMP-9 expression enhanced astrocytic migration. These results demonstrated that in RBA-1 cells, activation of ATF2/AP-1 by the PKC(α)-mediated Nox(2)/ROS signals is essential for upregulation of MMP-9 and cell migration enhanced by LTA.