Cardiotrophin-1 stimulates intercellular adhesion molecule-1 and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 in human aortic endothelial cells.
Intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) play critical roles in mediating monocyte adhesion to the vascular endothelium and monocyte migration into the subendothelial regions of the vessels. Inasmuch as cardiotrophin-1 (CT-1), an IL-6-type cytokine, was expressed in human atherosclerotic plaque, we examined whether CT-1 induces monocyte adhesion and migration by stimulating gene and protein expressions of ICAM-1 and MCP-1 in human aortic endothelial cells (HAECs). Immunocytochemistry revealed that CT-1 increased intensity of ICAM-1 and MCP-1 immunoreactivity in HAECs. Adhesion assay and chemotaxis assay revealed that CT-1 increased human monocytic THP-1 cell adhesion to HAECs and promoted chemotaxis in THP-1 cells, which were attenuated by anti-ICAM-1 and anti-MCP-1 antibody, respectively. Western blot analysis showed that CT-1 increased phosphorylation of ERK1/2 MAP kinase, p38 MAP kinase, and Akt and that their inhibitors, PD-98059, SB-203580, and LY-294002, respectively, inhibited phosphorylation. RNase protection assay and ELISA demonstrated that CT-1 increased gene and protein expressions of ICAM-1 and MCP-1. EMSA revealed that CT-1 enhanced NF-kappaB DNA-binding activity. CT-1-mediated upregulation of ICAM-1 and MCP-1 was suppressed by PD-98059, SB-203580, LY-294002, and parthenolide. The present study demonstrates that CT-1 promotes monocyte adhesion and migration by stimulating ICAM-1 and MCP-1 through mechanisms that involve ERK1/2 MAP kinase, p38 MAP kinase, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, and NF-kappaB pathways and suggests that CT-1 plays an important role in the pathophysiology of vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis.