Search. Read. Cite.

Easy to search. Easy to read. Easy to cite with credible sources.

Molecular Endocrinology

Year: 2009  |  Volume: 23  |  Issue: 11  |  Page No.: 1839 - 1849

Paradoxical Stimulation of Cyclooxygenase-2 Expression by Glucocorticoids via a Cyclic AMP Response Element in Human Amnion Fibroblasts

X. O Zhu, Z Yang, C. M Guo, X. T Ni, J. N Li, Y. C Ge, L Myatt and K. Sun


Human amnion fibroblasts produce abundant prostaglandins toward the end of gestation, which is one of the major events leading to parturition. In marked contrast to its well-described antiinflammatory effect, glucocorticoids have been shown to up-regulate cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression in human amnion fibroblasts. The mechanisms underlying this paradoxical induction of COX-2 by glucocorticoids have not been resolved. Using cultured human amnion fibroblasts, we found that the induction of COX-2 mRNA expression by cortisol was a glucocorticoid receptor (GR)-dependent process requiring ongoing transcription. Upon transfection of a COX-2 promoter-driven reporter gene into the amnion fibroblasts, cortisol stimulated the COX-2 promoter activity. This was abolished by mutagenesis of a cAMP response element (CRE) at –53 to approximately –59bp as well as by cotransfection of a plasmid expressing dominant-negative CRE-binding protein (CREB). The phosphorylation level of CREB-1 was significantly increased by cortisol treatment of the amnion fibroblasts, whereas the effect was attenuated either by the protein kinase A inhibitor H89 or the p38 -MAPK inhibitor SB203580. The induction of the COX-2 promoter activity and the phosphorylation of CREB-1 were also blocked by the GR antagonist RU486. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay revealed that the binding of CREB-1 to the CRE of the COX-2 promoter was increased by cortisol treatment of the amnion fibroblasts. In conclusion, cortisol, via binding to GR, stimulated COX-2 expression by increasing phosphorylated CREB-1 binding to the CRE of the COX-2 gene. Cortisol may phosphorylate CREB-1 by activating either protein kinase A or p38-MAPK in the amnion fibroblasts.

View Fulltext