Silencing TAK1 reduces MAPKs-MMP2/9 expression to reduce inflammation

Microglia activation post traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) provokes accumulation of inflammatory metabolites, leading to increasing neurological disruption. Our previous studies demonstrated that blocking MAPKs pathway mitigated microglia inflammatory activation and prevented cords from neuroinflammation-induced secondary injury. Transforming growth factor-β-activated kinase 1 (TAK1) is an upstream gate regulating activation of MAPKs signaling. To validate the therapeutic effect of TAK1 inhibition in neuroinflammation post SCI, in the current study, cultures of microglia BV2 line was undergone lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation in the presence of TAK1 inhibitor 5Z-7-Oxozeaenol (ZO), LPS, or control. LPS triggered inflammatory level, cell migration, and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) 2/9 production, which was reduced in ZO-treated cultures. TAK1 inhibition by ZO also decreased activation of MAPKs pathway, indicating that ZO-mediated alleviation of neuroinflammation is likely modulated via TAK1/MAPKs axis. In vivo, neuroinflammatory level and tissue destruction were assessed in adult male mice that were undergone SCI by mechanical trauma, and treated with ZO by intraperitoneal injection.


Fig: The expression of phosphorylation of TAK1 and p38 in vivo and in vitro increased during neuroinflammation response

Compared with SCI mice, ZO-treated mice exhibited less microglia pro-inflammatory activation and accumulation adjacent to injured core linked to reduced MMP2/9 expression, leading to minor tissue damage and better locomotor recovery. To sum up, the obtained data proved that in the early phase post SCI, TAK1 inhibition impedes microglia biological activities including activation, enzymatic synthesis, and migration via downregulation of MAPKs pathway, and the effects may be accurately characterized as potent anti-inflammation.

Jiang, S., Wu, Y., Wu, S. et al. Silencing TAK1 reduces MAPKs-MMP2/9 expression to reduce inflammation-driven neurohistological disruption post spinal cord injury. Cell Death Discov. 7, 96 (2021).

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