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MAPK/FoxA2-mediated cigarette smoke-induced squamous metaplasia of bronchial epithelial cells

Authors Du C, Lu J, Zhou L, Wu B, Zhou F, Gu L, Xu D, Sun Y

Received 5 June 2017

Accepted for publication 10 October 2017

Published 21 November 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 3341—3351


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Charles Downs

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Chunxue Bai

Chunling Du,* Jinchang Lu,* Lei Zhou, Bo Wu, Feng Zhou, Liang Gu, Donghui Xu, Yingxin Sun

Department of Respiratory Medicine, Qingpu Branch of Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Objective: To explore the effect of cigarette smoke (CS) on the development of squamous metaplasia in human airway epithelial cells and the role of MAPK- and FoxA2-signaling pathways in the process.
Materials and methods: In an in vitro study, we treated the bronchial epithelial cell line BEAS2B with CS extract, followed by treatment with the ERK inhibitor U0126, the JNK inhibitor SP600125, or the p38 inhibitor SB203580. In vivo, we used a CS-induced rat model. After treatment with CS with or without MAPK inhibitors for 90 days, lung tissues were harvested. p-ERK, p-p38 and p-JNK protein levels in cells and lung tissue were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, mRNA- and protein-expression profiles of FoxA2, E-cadherin, CD44, and ZO1 were measured using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting, respectively, and morphological changes in bronchial epithelial cells were observed using lung-tissue staining.
Results: In both the in vitro and in vivo studies, phosphorylation of the ERK1/2, JNK, and p38 proteins was significantly increased (P<0.05) and mRNA and protein expression of E-cadherin and FoxA2 significantly decreased (P<0.05) compared with the control group. ERK, JNK, and p38 inhibitors reversed the CS-extract-induced changes in E-cadherin, CD44, and ZO1 mRNA and protein expression (P<0.05), decreased p-ERK, p-p38, and p-JNK protein levels in cells and lung tissue, suppressed bronchial epithelial hyperplasia and local squamous metaplasia, and decreased FoxA2 expression.
Conclusion: MAPK and FoxA2 mediate CS-induced squamous metaplasia. MAPK inhibitors upregulate FoxA2, resulting in a reduction in the degree of squamous metaplasia.

Keywords: MAPK, FoxA2, cigarette smoke, bronchial epithelial cell, squamous metaplasia

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