Oxidants and signaling by mitogen-activated protein kinases in lung epithelium

Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2006 Jun;34(6):666-9. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2006-0047SF. Epub 2006 Feb 16.


Oxidants in cigarette smoke and generated from asbestos fibers activate mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling cascades in lung epithelial cells in vitro and in vivo. These signaling pathways lead to the enhanced ability of Jun and Fos family members (i.e., components of the activator protein [AP]-1 transcription factor) to activate transcription of a number of AP-1-dependent target genes involved in cell proliferation or death, differentiation, and inflammation. Research by the Basbaum laboratory has been critical in showing that mucin transcription in response to cigarette smoke and gram-positive bacteria is mediated through activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor and MAPK cascades. Work from our laboratories supports the concept that MAPK signaling and AP-1 transactivation by cigarette smoke and asbestos may synergize in lung epithelial cell injury, compensatory proliferation of lung epithelial cells, and carcinogenesis, supporting a mechanistic framework for the striking increases in lung cancer incidence in asbestos workers who smoke. Targeting of MAPKs and inter-related signaling cascades may be critical to the prevention of lung cancers and control of mucin overproduction in a number of lung diseases including asthma, cystic fibrosis, chronic bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asbestos / toxicity
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Epithelial Cells / enzymology
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lung / enzymology
  • Lung / metabolism*
  • Lung Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology
  • Mineral Fibers / toxicity
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Mucins / genetics
  • Mucins / metabolism
  • Oxidants / toxicity
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos / biosynthesis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos / metabolism
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / enzymology
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / etiology
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction* / genetics
  • Smoke
  • Tobacco / toxicity
  • Transcription Factor AP-1 / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Mineral Fibers
  • Mucins
  • Oxidants
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Smoke
  • Transcription Factor AP-1
  • fos-related antigen 1
  • Asbestos
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases