Dexamethasone suppresses monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 production via mitogen activated protein kinase phosphatase-1 dependent inhibition of Jun N-terminal kinase and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase in activated rat microglia.J Neurochem. 2007 Aug; 102(3):667-78.JN
Microglial cells release monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) which amplifies the inflammation process by promoting recruitment of macrophages and microglia to inflammatory sites in several neurological diseases. In the present study, dexamethasone (Dex), an anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive drug has been shown to suppress the mRNA and protein expression of MCP-1 in activated microglia resulting in inhibition of microglial migration. This has been further confirmed by the chemotaxis assay which showed that Dex or MCP-1 neutralization with its antibody inhibits the microglial recruitment towards the conditioned medium of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-treated microglial culture. This study also revealed that the down-regulation of the MCP-1 mRNA expression by Dex in activated microglial cells was mediated via mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways. It has been demonstrated that Dex inhibited the phosphorylation of Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 MAP kinases as well as c-jun, the JNK substrate in microglia treated with LPS. The involvement of JNK and p38 MAPK pathways in induction of MCP-1 production in activated microglial cells was confirmed as there was an attenuation of MCP-1 protein release when microglial cells were treated with inhibitors of JNK and p38. In addition, Dex induced the expression of MAP kinase phosphatase-1 (MKP-1), the negative regulator of JNK and p38 MAP kinases in microglial cells exposed to LPS. Blockade of MKP-1 expression by triptolide enhanced the phosphorylation of JNK and p38 MAPK pathways and the mRNA expression of MCP-1 in activated microglial cells treated with Dex. In summary, Dex inhibits the MCP-1 production and subsequent microglial cells migration to the inflammatory site by regulating MKP-1 expression and the p38 and JNK MAPK pathways. This study reveals that the MKP-1 and MCP-1 as novel mediators of biological effects of Dex may help developing better therapeutic strategies for the treatment of patients with neuroinflammatory diseases.