Tumor necrosis factor-alpha upregulates 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 expression by CCAAT/enhancer binding protein-beta in HepG2 cells.Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2009 Feb; 296(2):E367-77.AJ
The enzyme 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11beta-HSD1) catalyzes the conversion of inactive to active glucocorticoids. 11beta-HSD1 plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of obesity and controls glucocorticoid actions in inflammation. Several studies have demonstrated that TNF-alpha increases 11beta-HSD1 mRNA and activity in various cell models. Here, we demonstrate that mRNA and activity of 11beta-HSD1 is increased in liver tissue from transgenic mice overexpressing TNF-alpha, indicating that this effect also occurs in vivo. To dissect the molecular mechanism of this increase, we investigated basal and TNF-alpha-induced transcription of the 11beta-HSD1 gene (HSD11B1) in HepG2 cells. We found that TNF-alpha acts via p38 MAPK pathway. Transient transfections with variable lengths of human HSD11B1 promoter revealed highest activity with or without TNF-alpha in the proximal promoter region (-180 to +74). Cotransfection with human CCAAT/enhancer binding protein-alpha (C/EBPalpha) and C/EBPbeta-LAP expression vectors activated the HSD11B1 promoter with the strongest effect within the same region. Gel shift and RNA interference assays revealed the involvement of mainly C/EBPalpha, but also C/EBPbeta, in basal and only of C/EBPbeta in the TNF-alpha-induced HSD11B1 expression. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assay confirmed in vivo the increased abundance of C/EBPbeta on the proximal HSD11B1 promoter upon TNF-alpha treatment. In conclusion, C/EBPalpha and C/EBPbeta control basal transcription, and TNF-alpha upregulates 11beta-HSD1, most likely by p38 MAPK-mediated increased binding of C/EBPbeta to the human HSD11B1 promoter. To our knowledge, this is the first study showing involvement of p38 MAPK in the TNF-alpha-mediated 11beta-HSD1 regulation, and that TNF-alpha stimulates enzyme activity in vivo.