Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α can alter tissue repair functions in a variety of cells including endothelial cells. However, the mechanism by which TNF-α mediates these functional changes has not fully been studied. We investigated the role of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) on mediating the regulatory effect of TNF-α on the tissue repair functions of human pulmonary artery endothelial cells (HPAECs). TNF-α protected HPAECs from undergoing apoptosis induced by serum and growth factor deprivation, augmented collagen gel contraction, and stimulated wound closure. TNF-α activated c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1/2), and p38. Inhibitors of JNK (SP600125, 5 μm) or ERK1/2 (PD98059, 5 μm) significantly inhibited TNF-α-stimulated cell survival, contraction of collagen gels, and wound closure. In contrast, the p38 inhibitor SB203580 (5 μm) further amplified all of the TNF-α effects on HPAECs. TNF-α specifically activated p38α but not other p38 isoforms and suppression of p38α by an siRNA resulted in further amplification of the TNF-α effect. These results suggest that TNF-α stimulates tissue repair functions of HPAECs, and this may be mediated, at least in part, positively via JNK and ERK1/2, and negatively through p38α. MAPKs may play a role in endothelial cell-mediated tissue repair, especially in an inflammatory milieu where TNF-α is present.
- Endothelial cells
- Mitogen-activated protein kinase
- Wound repair
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine