Extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/extracellular signal-regulated kinase 2 mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling and activation of activator protein 1 and nuclear factor kappaB transcription factors play central roles in interleukin-8 expression stimulated by monosodium urate monohydrate and calcium pyrophosphate crystals in monocytic cells

Arthritis Rheum. 2000 May;43(5):1145-55. doi: 10.1002/1529-0131(200005)43:5<1145::AID-ANR25>3.0.CO;2-T.


Objective: Monosodium urate monohydrate (MSU) and calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate (CPPD) crystals cause acute gout and pseudogout, respectively. Because acute gout and pseudogout appear to be dependent on interleukin-8 (IL-8)-induced neutrophil ingress, this study was undertaken to define and compare how MSU and CPPD crystals stimulate IL-8 messenger RNA (mRNA) expression in mononuclear phagocytes.

Methods: MSU and CPPD crystal-induced mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signal transduction and IL-8 transcriptional activation were studied in human monocytic cells, using the THP-1 cell line.

Results: MSU and CPPD crystals (0.5 mg/ml) induced activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase, extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1 (ERK-1)/ERK-2, and p38 MAPK pathways in THP-1 cells. Activation of the ERK-1/ERK-2 pathway was essential for MSU and CPPD crystal-induced IL-8 mRNA expression, whereas the p38 pathway played a greater role in IL-8 mRNA expression in response to CPPD crystals in comparison with MSU crystals. Both crystals induced the binding of nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB), including the NF-kappaB complex c-Rel/RelA, and activator protein 1 (AP-1, including N-terminal phosphorylated c-Jun) to the IL-8 promoter. Both crystals induced transcriptional activation of the IL-8 promoter, which was dependent on activation of c-Rel/RelA and AP-1. Activation of the NF-IL-6 transcription factor played a lesser role. Finally, crystal-induced IL-8 promoter activation was mediated by activation of the ERK-1/ERK-2 pathway, as demonstrated by transfection of dominant-negative raf-1.

Conclusion: These results indicate that ERK-1/ ERK-2 signaling and transcriptional activation through AP-1 and NF-kappaB are essential for the induction of IL-8 expression in mononuclear phagocytes in response to CPPD and MSU crystals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Calcium Pyrophosphate / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-8 / biosynthesis*
  • Interleukin-8 / genetics
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1 / physiology*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / physiology*
  • Monocytes / chemistry*
  • NF-kappa B / pharmacology*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Transcription Factor AP-1 / pharmacology*
  • Uric Acid / pharmacology*


  • Interleukin-8
  • NF-kappa B
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Transcription Factor AP-1
  • Uric Acid
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Calcium Pyrophosphate