Pharmacology and Therapeutics - Research Publications

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    Plasminogen-stimulated airway smooth muscle cell proliferation is mediated by urokinase and annexin A2, involving plasmin-activated cell signalling
    Stewart, AG ; Xia, YC ; Harris, T ; Royce, S ; Hamilton, JA ; Schuliga, M (WILEY-BLACKWELL, 2013-12-01)
    BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The conversion of plasminogen into plasmin by interstitial urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) is potentially important in asthma pathophysiology. In this study, the effect of uPA-mediated plasminogen activation on airway smooth muscle (ASM) cell proliferation was investigated. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: Human ASM cells were incubated with plasminogen (0.5-50 μg·mL(-1) ) or plasmin (0.5-50 mU·mL(-1) ) in the presence of pharmacological inhibitors, including UK122, an inhibitor of uPA. Proliferation was assessed by increases in cell number or MTT reduction after 48 h incubation with plasmin(ogen), and by earlier increases in [(3) H]-thymidine incorporation and cyclin D1 expression. KEY RESULTS: Plasminogen (5 μg·mL(-1) )-stimulated increases in cell proliferation were attenuated by UK122 (10 μM) or by transfection with uPA gene-specific siRNA. Exogenous plasmin (5 mU·mL(-1) ) also stimulated increases in cell proliferation. Inhibition of plasmin-stimulated ERK1/2 or PI3K/Akt signalling attenuated plasmin-stimulated increases in ASM proliferation. Furthermore, pharmacological inhibition of cell signalling mediated by the EGF receptor, a receptor trans-activated by plasmin, also reduced plasmin(ogen)-stimulated cell proliferation. Knock down of annexin A2, which has dual roles in both plasminogen activation and plasmin-signal transduction, also attenuated ASM cell proliferation following incubation with either plasminogen or plasmin. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Plasminogen stimulates ASM cell proliferation in a manner mediated by uPA and involving multiple signalling pathways downstream of plasmin. Targeting mediators of plasminogen-evoked ASM responses, such as uPA or annexin A2, may be useful in the treatment of asthma.
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    Plasminogen-Stimulated Inflammatory Cytokine Production by Airway Smooth Muscle Cells Is Regulated by Annexin A2
    Schuliga, M ; Langenbach, S ; Xia, YC ; Qin, C ; Mok, JSL ; Harris, T ; Mackay, GA ; Medcalf, RL ; Stewart, AG (AMER THORACIC SOC, 2013-11-01)
    Plasminogen has a role in airway inflammation. Airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells cleave plasminogen into plasmin, a protease with proinflammatory activity. In this study, the effect of plasminogen on cytokine production by human ASM cells was investigated in vitro. Levels of IL-6 and IL-8 in the medium of ASM cells were increased by incubation with plasminogen (5-50 μg/ml) for 24 hours (P < 0.05; n = 6-9), corresponding to changes in the levels of cytokine mRNA at 4 hours. The effects of plasminogen were attenuated by α2-antiplasmin (1 μg/ml), a plasmin inhibitor (P < 0.05; n = 6-12). Exogenous plasmin (5-15 mU/ml) also stimulated cytokine production (P < 0.05; n = 6-8) in a manner sensitive to serine-protease inhibition by aprotinin (10 KIU/ml). Plasminogen-stimulated cytokine production was increased in cells pretreated with basic fibroblast growth factor (300 pM) in a manner associated with increases in urokinase plasminogen activator expression and plasmin formation. The knockdown of annexin A2, a component of the putative plasminogen receptor comprised of annexin A2 and S100A10, attenuated plasminogen conversion into plasmin and plasmin-stimulated cytokine production by ASM cells. Moreover, a role for annexin A2 in airway inflammation was demonstrated in annexin A2-/- mice in which antigen-induced increases in inflammatory cell number and IL-6 levels in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid were reduced (P < 0.01; n = 10-14). In conclusion, plasminogen stimulates ASM cytokine production in a manner regulated by annexin A2. Our study shows for the first time that targeting annexin A2-mediated signaling may provide a novel therapeutic approach to the treatment of airway inflammation in diseases such as chronic asthma.