TNF-α Regulates the Glucocorticoid Receptor Alpha Expression in Human Nasal Epithelial Cells Via p65-NF-κb and p38-MAPK Signaling Pathways

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Renji Hospital, School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai, China



Background: Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α induces changes in the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) isoforms’ expression in human nasal epithelial cells (HNECs) in chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS).
Objective: However, the underlying mechanism of TNF-α induced GR isoforms’ expression in HNECs remains unclear. Here, we explored changes in inflammatory cytokines and glucocorticoid receptor alpha isoform (GRα) expression in HNECs.
Materials and Methods: To explore the expression of TNF-α in nasal polyps and nasal mucosa of CRS, fluorescence immunohistochemical analysis was employed. To investigate changes in inflammatory cytokines and GRα expression in HNECs, RT-PCR and western blotting were performed following the cells’ incubation with TNF-α. Cells were pretreated with the nuclear factor-κB gene binding (NF-κB) inhibitor QNZ, the p38 inhibitor SB203580, and dexamethasone for one hour, then a TNF-α. Western blotting, RT-PCR, and immunofluorescence had been utilized for the cells’ analysis and the ANOVA for the data analysis.
Results: The TNF-α fluorescence intensity was mainly distributed in nasal epithelial cells of nasal tissues. TNF-α prominently inhibited the expression of GRα mRNA from 6 to 24 h in HNECs. GRα protein was decreased from 12 to 24 h. Treatment with QNZ, SB203580, or dexamethasone inhibited the TNF-α and interleukin (IL)-6 mRNA expression and increased the GRα levels.
Conclusion: TNF-α induced changes in the GR isoforms’ expression in HNECs, and it was mediated through p65-NF-κB and p38-MAPK signal transduction pathways, which could be considered a promising neutrophilic CRS treatment.


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