Propofol pretreatment attenuates LPS-induced granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor production in cultured hepatocytes by suppressing MAPK/ERK activity and NF-kappaB translocation

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2008 Jun 15;229(3):362-73. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2008.01.044. Epub 2008 Feb 21.


Propofol (PPF), a widely used intravenous anesthetic for induction and maintenance of anesthesia during surgeries, was found to possess suppressive effect on host immunity. This study aimed at investigating whether PPF plays a modulatory role in the lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammatory cytokine expression in a cell line of rat hepatocytes. Morphological observation and viability assay showed that PPF exhibits no cytotoxicity at concentrations up to 300 microM after 48 h incubation. Pretreatment with 100 microM PPF for 24 h prior to LPS stimulation was performed to investigate the modulatory effect on LPS-induced inflammatory gene production. The results of semi-quantitative RT-PCR demonstrated that PPF pretreatment significantly suppressed the LPS-induced toll-like receptor (TLR)-4, CD14, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) gene expression. Western blotting analysis showed that PPF pretreatment potentiated the LPS-induced TLR-4 downregulation. Flow cytometrical analysis revealed that PPF pretreatment showed no modulatory effect on the LPS-upregulated CD14 expression on hepatocytes. In addition, PPF pretreatment attenuated the phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (MAPK/ERK) and IkappaBalpha, as well as the nuclear translocation of NF-kappaB primed by LPS. Moreover, addition of PD98059, a MAPK kinase inhibitor, significantly suppressed the LPS-induced NF-kappaB nuclear translocation and GM-CSF production, suggesting that the PPF-attenuated GM-CSF production in hepatocytes may be attributed to its suppressive effect on MAPK/ERK signaling pathway. In conclusion, PPF as an anesthetic may clinically benefit those patients who are vulnerable to sepsis by alleviating sepsis-related inflammatory response in livers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anesthetics, Intravenous / administration & dosage
  • Anesthetics, Intravenous / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Nucleus / drug effects
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cytokines / drug effects
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / drug effects*
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / metabolism
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / biosynthesis
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / drug effects*
  • Hepatocytes / drug effects
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / drug effects*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • NF-kappa B / drug effects
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Propofol / administration & dosage
  • Propofol / pharmacology*
  • Protein Transport
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Anesthetics, Intravenous
  • Cytokines
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • NF-kappa B
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Propofol