The Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor LY294002 modulates cytokine expression in macrophages via p50 nuclear factor kappa B inhibition, in a PI3K-independent mechanism

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Graphical abstractThe Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor, LY294002 (LY2), has been previously reported to inhibit nuclear factor κB (NFκB) activity, in a PI3K-independent mechanism. The goals of the current research were to determine the specificity of LY2 regarding NFκB subunits, and to identify relevant modulation of cytokine expression in LPS-stimulated macrophages. We found that LY2 specifically diminished the level of p50, but not p65, NFκB in the nucleus of LPS-stimulated mouse RAW264.7 macrophages and human THP-1 monocytes. This activity of LY2 was mimicked by its PI3K-inert analog LY303511 (LY3), but not by another PI3K inhibitor – wortmannin. We further show that LY2 inhibited LPS-induced IL-10 expression by RAW264.7 macrophages, in a PI3K-independent mechanism. Moreover, using a deletion mutant of an IL-10 promoter reporter gene we demonstrate that the activity of the NFκB enhancer site at the IL-10 promoter is regulated by LY2 in a PI3K-independent manner. Finally, both LY2 and LY3 elevated TNFα production in the LPS tolerant state which is regulated by p50 NFκB homodimers, but not before tolerance development. The effects of LY2 and LY3 on p50 translocation and on cytokine production in LPS-stimulated macrophages are thus consistent with specific PI3K-independent inhibition of p50 NFκB homodimer activity by LY2.

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