PURPOSE: It is generally accepted that inflammation has a role in the progression of many central nervous system (CNS) diseases, although the mechanisms through which this occurs remain unclear. Among mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) targets, mitogen- and stress-activated protein kinase (MSK1) has been thought to be involved in the pathology of inflammatory gene expression. In this study, the roles of MSK1 activation in neuroinflammation were investigated.<br /><br />METHODS: The bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced brain injury model was performed on Sprague-Dawley rats. The dynamic expression changes and the cellular location of p-MSK1 in the brain cortex were detected by Western blot and immunofluorescence staining. The synthesis of inflammatory cytokines in astrocytes was detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).<br /><br />RESULTS: Phosphorylated MSK1 (p-MSK1 Thr-581) was induced significantly after intracerebral injection of LPS into the lateral ventricles of the rat brain. Specific upregulation of p-MSK1 in astrocytes was also observed in inflamed cerebral cortex. At 1 day after LPS stimulation, iNOS, TNFα expression, and the astrocyte marker glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) were increased significantly. Also, in vitro studies indicated that the upregulation of p-MSK1 (Thr-581) may be involved in the subsequent astrocyte inflammatory process, following LPS challenge. Using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), it was confirmed that treatment with LPS in primary astrocytes stimulated the synthesis of inflammatory cytokines, through MAPKs signaling pathways. In cultured primary astrocytes, both knock-down of total MSK1 by small interfering RNAs (siRNA) or specific mutation of Thr-581 resulted in higher production of certain cytokines, such as TNFα and IL-6.<br /><br />CONCLUSIONS: Collectively, these results suggest that MSK1 phosphorylation is associated with the regulation of LPS-induced brain injury and possibly acts as a negative regulator of inflammation.
Gong, P., Xu, X., Shi, J., Ni, L., Huang, Q., Xia, L., … Shi, W. (2013). Phosphorylation of mitogen- and stress-activated protein kinase-1 in astrocytic inflammation: A possible role in inhibiting production of inflammatory cytokines. PLoS ONE, 8(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0081747