Objective: We have previously shown that p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) regulates, at least in part, hyperosmolarity induced interleukin (IL)-8 expression in human bronchial epithelial cells (BEC). In the previous study, hyperosmolarity also activated c-Jun-NH2-terminal kinase (JNK); however, the role of the JNK signalling pathway has not been determined. In the present study, we examined the role of the JNK signalling pathway in hyperosmolarity induced IL-8 and RANTES production by BEC using the novel inhibitor of the JNK signalling pathway CEP 11004 in order to clarify these issues.
Methods: Bronchial epithelial cells that had been pre-incubated with SB 203580, CEP 11004 or a combination of these were exposed to a hyperosmolar medium and then the p38 MAPK and JNK phosphorylation activity in these cells and IL-8 and RANTES concentrations in the culture supernatants were determined.
Results: The results showed that: (i) hyperosmolarity induced the threonine and tyrosine phosphorylation of p38 MAPK and JNK; (ii) SB 203580, as the specific inhibitor of p38 MAPK activity, and CEP 11004 attenuated hyperosmolarity induced p38 MAPK and JNK activity, respectively; (iii) SB 203580 and CEP 11004, but not PD 98059, partially attenuated IL-8 and RANTES production; and (iv) a combination of SB 203580 and CEP 11004 attenuated IL-8 and RANTES production in an additive fashion.
Conclusion: These results indicate that p38 MAPK and the JNK pathway regulate hyperosmolarity induced IL-8 and RANTES production by BEC.