The MAPK‐activator protein‐1 signaling regulates changes in lung tissue of rat exposed to hypobaric hypoxia
This study reports the role of MAPKs (JNK, ERK, and p38), and activator protein‐1 (AP‐1) transcription factor in the hypobaric hypoxia induced change in lung tissue. Healthy male Sprague–Dawley rats were exposed to hypobaric hypoxia for 6, 12, 24, 48, 72, and 120 hr. Hypoxia resulted in significant increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and decreased nitric oxide (NO), these act as signaling molecules for activation of MAPK and also contribute in development of vascular leakage (an indicator of pulmonary edema) as confirmed by histological studies. Our results confirmed JNK activation as an immediate early response (peaked at 6–48 hr), activation of ERKs (peaked at 24–72 hr) and p38 (peaked at 72–120 hr) as a secondary response to hypoxia. The MAPK pathway up regulated its downstream targets phospho c‐Jun (peaked at 6–120 hr), JunB (peaked at 24–120 hr) however, decreased c‐Fos, and JunD levels. DNA binding activity also confirmed activation of AP‐1 transcription factor in lung tissue under hypobaric hypoxia. Further, we analyzed the proliferative and inflammatory genes regulated by different subunits of AP‐1 to explore its role in vascular leakage. Increased expression of cyclin D1 (peaked at 12–72 hr) and p16 level (peaked at 48–120 hr) were correlated to the activation of c‐jun, c‐Fos and JunB. Administration of NFκB inhibitor caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) and SP600125 (JNK inhibitor) had no effect on increased levels of Interferon‐γ (IFN‐γ), Interleukin‐1 (IL‐1), and Tumor Necrosis Factor‐α (TNF‐α) thereby confirming the involvement of AP‐1 as well as NFκB in inflammation. Expression of c‐jun, c‐Fos were correlated with activation of proliferative genes and JunB, Fra‐1 with pro‐inflammatory cytokines. In conclusion immediate response to hypobaric hypoxia induced c‐Jun:c‐Fos subunits of AP‐1; responsible for proliferation that might cause inhomogeneous vasoconstriction leading to vascular leakage and inflammation at increased duration of hypobaric hypoxia exposure.
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