p38(MAPK): stress responses from molecular mechanisms to therapeutics

Trends Mol Med. 2009 Aug;15(8):369-79. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2009.06.005. Epub 2009 Aug 6.


The p38(MAPK) protein kinases affect a variety of intracellular responses, with well-recognized roles in inflammation, cell-cycle regulation, cell death, development, differentiation, senescence and tumorigenesis. In this review, we examine the regulatory and effector components of this pathway, focusing on their emerging roles in biological processes involved in different pathologies. We summarize how this pathway has been exploited for the development of therapeutics and discuss the potential obstacles of targeting this promiscuous protein kinase pathway for the treatment of different diseases. Furthermore, we discuss how the p38(MAPK) pathway might be best exploited for the development of more effective therapeutics with minimal side effects in a range of specific disease settings.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Immunity
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Therapeutics*
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / genetics
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / immunology
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*


  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases