Method: In mucin-producing human NCI-H292 airway epithelial cells and primary cultures of normal nasal epithelial cells, the effect and signaling pathway of TSLP on expression of mucin genes were investigated using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), real-time PCR, enzyme immunoassay, and immunoblot analysis with several specific inhibitors and small interfering RNA (siRNA).
Result: In human NCI-H292 airway epithelial cells, TSLP increased MUC5B expression. TSLP significantly activated phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). U0126 (ERK1/2 MAPK inhibitor) and SB203580 (p38 MAPK inhibitor) significantly attenuated TSLP-induced MUC5B mRNA expression. Knockdown of ERK1, ERK2, and p38 MAPK by ERK1, ERK2, and p38 MAPK siRNA significantly blocked TSLP-induced MUC5B mRNA expression. In the primary cultures of normal nasal epithelial cells, TSLP significantly increased MUC5B mRNA expression, which was significantly attenuated after pretreatment with U0126 and SB203580.
Conclusion: These results suggest that TSLP induces MUC5B expression via the ERK1/2 and p38 MAPK signaling pathway in human airway epithelial cells.