Role of mitogen-activated protein kinases in activation of human neutrophils by antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies


  • R. Kettritz
  • A. Schreiber
  • F.C. Luft
  • H. Haller


  • Journal of the American Society of Nephrology


  • J Am Soc Nephrol 12 (1): 37-46


  • Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) may be important in the pathophysiology of necrotizing vasculitis. ANCA activate human neutrophils primed with tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) in vitro. TNF-alpha priming results in translocation of ANCA antigens to the cell surface, where they are recognized by the antibodies. The signaling mechanisms involved in TNF-alpha priming and subsequent ANCA-induced activation were investigated. TNF-alpha-primed neutrophils were stimulated with monoclonal antibodies (MAb) to human myeloperoxidase (MPO) and proteinase 3 (PR3), and with preparations of human ANCA (three patients with PR3-ANCA and two patients with MPO-ANCA). Respiratory burst was measured with superoxide dismutase-inhibitable ferricytochrome C reduction and using dihydro-rhodamine-1,2,3. Phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38-MAPK) and the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) were assessed by immunoblotting. ANCA-antigen translocation was studied by flow cytometry. The tyrosine phosphorylation inhibitor genistein, but not calphostin or staurosporin, resulted in a significant dose-dependent superoxide generation inhibition (11.6 +/- 1.7 nmol to 2.1 +/- 0.5 for PR3-ANCA, and 16.0 +/- 2.8 to 3.3 +/- 1.3 for MPO-ANCA). The p38-MAPK inhibitor (SB202190) and the ERK inhibitor (PD98059) diminished PR3-ANCA-mediated superoxide production dose dependently (11.6 +/- 1.7 nmol O(2)(-) to 1.9 +/- 0.6 with 50 microM SB202190 and 4.0 +/- 0.6 with 50 microM PD098059, respectively). For MPO-ANCA, the results were similar (16.0 +/- 2.8 nmol to 0.9 +/- 1.0 nmol with SB202190 and 6.4 +/- 2.4 nmol with PD98059, respectively). Western blot showed phosphorylation of both p38-MAPK and ERK during TNF-alpha priming. The p38-MAPK inhibitor and the ERK inhibitor showed the strongest effect on respiratory burst when added before TNF-alpha priming, further supporting an important role for both signaling pathways in the priming process. Flow cytometry showed that p38-MAPK inhibition decreased the translocation of PR3 (by 93 +/- 2%) and of MPO (by 64 +/- 2%). In contrast, no such effect was seen when ERK was inhibited. Thus, p38-MAPK and ERK are important for the TNF-alpha-mediated priming of neutrophils enabling subsequent ANCA-induced respiratory burst. However, both pathways show differential effects, whereby p38-MAPK controls the translocation of ANCA antigens to the cell surface.