HNE as an inducer of COX-2
Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), an inducible isoform responsible for high levels of prostaglandin (PG) production during inflammation and immune responses, mediate a variety of biological actions involved in vascular pathophysiology. COX-2 is induced by various stimuli, including proinflammatory cytokines, to result in PG synthesis associated with inflammation and carcinogenesis. 4-Hydroxy-2-nonenal (HNE) is one of a group of small molecules that can induce COX-2 expression. The mechanistic studies have revealed that the HNE-induced COX-2 expression results from the stabilization of COX-2 mRNA mediated by the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathway and uniquely requires a serum component, which is eventually identified to be modified low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), such as the oxidized form of LDLs. It has also been shown that HNE-induced COX-2 expression is mechanistically linked to the expression of transcription factor p53 and that the overexpression of COX-2 is associated with down-regulation of a proteasome subunit, leading to the enhanced accumulation of p53 and ubiquitinated proteins and to the enhanced sensitivity toward HNE. Thus, the overall mechanism and pathophysiological role of the COX-2 induction by HNE have become increasingly evident.