Background & aims: Derivatives of 5-aminosalicylic acid (mesalamine) represent a mainstay in inflammatory bowel disease therapy, yet the precise mechanism of their therapeutic action is unknown. Because tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha is important in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease, we investigated the effect of mesalamine on TNF-alpha-regulated signal transduction and proliferation in intestinal epithelial cells.
Methods: Young adult mouse colon cells were studied with TNF-alpha, epidermal growth factor, or ceramide in the presence or absence of mesalamine. Proliferation was studied by hemocytometry. Mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase activation and IkappaBalpha expression were determined by Western blot analysis. Nuclear transcription factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) nuclear translocation was determined by confocal laser immunofluorescent microscopy.
Results: The antiproliferative effects of TNF-alpha were blocked by mesalamine. TNF-alpha and ceramide activation of MAP kinase were inhibited by mesalamine, whereas epidermal growth factor activation of MAP kinase was unaffected. TNF-alpha-stimulated NF-kappaB activation and nuclear translocation and the degradation of Ikappa-Balpha were blocked by mesalamine.
Conclusions: Mesalamine inhibits TNF-alpha-mediated effects on intestinal epithelial cell proliferation and activation of MAP kinase and NF-kappaB. Therefore, it may function as a therapeutic agent based on its ability to disrupt critical signal transduction events in the intestinal cell necessary for perpetuation of the chronic inflammatory state.