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Journal of cellular biochemistry

Glycogen synthase kinase 3 regulates IL-1β mediated iNOS expression in hepatocytes by down-regulating c-Jun.


PMID 25160751

Abstract

Excessive nitric oxide from the inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) increases shock-induced hepatic injury, hepatic dysfunction, inflammation, and mortality in animal models. Cytokines increase the expression of iNOS in hepatocytes, but the signaling mechanisms involved are not completely understood. We have previously demonstrated that Akt mediates the inhibitory effect of cAMP and insulin on cytokine-induced hepatocyte iNOS expression. We hypothesized that glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3), a target of Akt phosphorylation, would regulate hepatocyte iNOS expression. In cultured rat hepatocytes, GSK3 inhibitors decreased IL-1β mediated nitric oxide (NO) production and iNOS protein expression, while the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway inhibitor LY294002 increased the cytokine-mediated NO production and iNOS expression. Over-expression of the constitutively active form of GSK3β enhanced IL-1β-mediated iNOS expression. GSK3 catalyzes the phosphorylation of c-Jun at the c-terminal Thr239 that facilitates c-Jun degradation. Inhibition of GSK3 with SB216763 and lithium chloride significantly reduced, whereas blocking PI3K/Akt increased phosphorylation of c-Jun at Thr239. The levels of total-c-Jun and c-Jun phosphorylated at Ser63 inversely correlated with c-Jun phosphorylated at Thr239, GSK3 activation and iNOS expression. Over-expression of a dominant negative c-Jun not only caused an increase in IL-1β-mediated iNOS promoter activity and iNOS protein expression but was also able to reverse the SB216763-mediated suppression of iNOS. These results demonstrate that GSK3, a downstream target of Akt, regulates IL-1β-stimulated iNOS expression in hepatocytes by directly phosphorylating c-Jun in an inhibitory manner.

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