Role of AMP-Activated Protein Kinase (AMPK) in Smoking-Induced Lung Inflammation and Emphysema

Tuberc Respir Dis (Seoul). 2015 Jan;78(1):8-17. doi: 10.4046/trd.2015.78.1.8. Epub 2015 Jan 29.


Background: AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) not only functions as an intracellular energy sensor and regulator, but is also a general sensor of oxidative stress. Furthermore, there is recent evidence that it participates in limiting acute inflammatory reactions, apoptosis and cellular senescence. Thus, it may oppose the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Methods: To investigate the role of AMPK in cigarette smoke-induced lung inflammation and emphysema we first compared cigarette smoking and polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid [poly(I:C)]-induced lung inflammation and emphysema in AMPKα1-deficient (AMPKα1-HT) mice and wild-type mice of the same genetic background. We then investigated the role of AMPK in the induction of interleukin-8 (IL-8) by cigarette smoke extract (CSE) in A549 cells.

Results: Cigarette smoking and poly(I:C)-induced lung inflammation and emphysema were elevated in AMPKα1-HT compared to wild-type mice. CSE increased AMPK activation in a CSE concentration- and time-dependent manner. 5-Aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-1-β-4-ribofuranoside (AICAR), an AMPK activator, decreased CSE-induced IL-8 production while Compound C, an AMPK inhibitor, increased it, as did pretreatment with an AMPKα1-specific small interfering RNA.

Conclusion: AMPKα1-deficient mice have increased susceptibility to lung inflammation and emphysema when exposed to cigarette smoke, and AMPK appears to reduce lung inflammation and emphysema by lowering IL-8 production.

Keywords: AMP-Activated Protein Kinases; Emphysema; Inflammation; Interleukin-8; Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive.