Macrophages produce IL-33 by activating MAPK signaling pathway during RSV infection

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It has been reported that RSV infection can enhance IL-33 production in lung macrophages. However, little is known about specific signaling pathways for activation of macrophages during RSV infection. In the present study, by using real-time RT-PCR as well as western blot assay, it became clear that RSV infection can enhance not only the expression of mRNAs for MAPK molecules (including p38, JNK1/2, and ERK1/2), but also the levels of MAPK proteins in lung macrophages as well as RAW264.7 cells. Furthermore, infection with RSV resulted in an increased level of phosphorylated MAPK proteins in RAW264.7 cells, suggesting that MAPK signaling pathway may participate in the process of RSV-induced IL-33 secretion by macrophages. In fact, the elevated production of IL-33 in RAW264.7 was attenuated significantly by pretreatment of the cells with special MAPK inhibitor before RSV infection, further confirming the function of MAPKs pathway in RSV-induced IL-33 production in macrophages. In contrast, the expression of NF-κB mRNA as well as the production of NF-κB protein in lung macrophages and RAW264.7 cells was not enhanced markedly after RSV infection. Moreover, RSV infection failed to induce the phosphorylation of NF-κB in RAW264.7 cells, suggesting that NF-κB signaling pathway may be not involved in RSV-induced IL-33 production in macrophages. Conclusion, these results indicate that RSV-induced production of IL-33 in macrophages is dependent on the activation of MAPK signaling pathway.

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