GILZ overexpression inhibits endothelial cell adhesive function through regulation of NF-κB and MAPK activity

J Immunol. 2013 Jul 1;191(1):424-33. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1202662. Epub 2013 May 31.


Glucocorticoid-induced leucine zipper (GILZ) is an anti-inflammatory protein first identified in T lymphocytes. We recently observed that GILZ is highly expressed in synovial endothelial cells in rheumatoid arthritis. However, the function of GILZ in endothelial cells is unknown. To investigate the actions of GILZ in this cell type, we induced GILZ expression in HUVECs via transient transfection. GILZ overexpression significantly reduced the capacity of TNF-stimulated HUVECs to support leukocyte rolling, adhesion, and transmigration. These effects were associated with decreased expression of E-selectin, ICAM-1, CCL2, CXCL8, and IL-6. Experiments in a human microvascular endothelial cell line demonstrated that TNF-inducible NF-κB activity was significantly inhibited by overexpression of GILZ. Exogenous GILZ inhibited TNF-induced NF-κB p65 DNA binding, although this occurred in the absence of an effect on p65 nuclear translocation, indicating that the mechanism of action of exogenous GILZ in endothelial cells differs from that reported in other cell types. GILZ overexpression also inhibited TNF-induced activation of p38, ERK, and JNK MAPKs, as well as increased expression of the MAPK inhibitory phosphatase, MKP-1. In contrast, silencing endogenous GILZ in glucocorticoid-treated HUVECs did not alter their capacity to support leukocyte interactions. These data demonstrate that exogenous GILZ exerts inhibitory effects on endothelial cell adhesive function via a novel pathway involving modulation of NF-κB p65 DNA binding and MAPK activity. Induction of GILZ expression in endothelial cells may represent a novel therapeutic modality with the potential to inhibit inflammatory leukocyte recruitment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Adhesion / genetics
  • Cell Adhesion / immunology
  • Cell Communication / immunology
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Migration Inhibition / genetics
  • Cell Migration Inhibition / immunology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / immunology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology
  • Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes / immunology
  • Leukocytes / metabolism
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / genetics
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / immunology*
  • Microcirculation / genetics
  • Microcirculation / immunology
  • Primary Cell Culture
  • Random Allocation
  • Transcription Factor RelA / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factors / biosynthesis
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / physiology
  • Transendothelial and Transepithelial Migration / genetics
  • Transendothelial and Transepithelial Migration / immunology*


  • TSC22D3 protein, human
  • Transcription Factor RelA
  • Transcription Factors