IL-1 promotes α-epithelial Sodium Channel (α-ENaC) expression in murine lung epithelial cells: involvement of NF-κB

Shamimunisa B. Mustafa, Tania F. Hernandez, Teresa L. Johnson-Pais, Pratap A. Kumar, Jean A. Petershack, Barbara M. Henson, Steven R. Seidner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Intra-amniotic exposure to proinflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-1 (IL-1) correlates with a decreased incidence of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) in infants following premature birth. At birth, inadequate absorption of fluid from the fetal lung contributes to the onset RDS. Lung fluid clearance is coupled to Na+ transport via epithelial sodium channels (ENaC). In this study, we assessed the effects of IL-1 on the expression of ENaC, particularly the α-subunit which is critical for fetal lung fluid clearance at birth. Cultured mouse lung epithelial (MLE-12) cells were treated with either IL-1α or IL-1β to determine their effects on α-ENaC expression. Changes in IL-1-induced α-ENaC levels in the presence of IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra), cycloheximide, NF-κB inhibitor, and MAP kinase inhibitors were investigated. IL-1α and IL-1β independently induced a significant increase of α-ENaC mRNA and protein after 24 h compared to untreated cells. IL-1-dependent increases in α-ENaC protein were mitigated by IL-1ra and cycloheximide. IL-1 exposure induced NF-κB binding activity. Attenuation of IL-1-induced NF-κB activation by its inhibitor SN50 decreased α-ENaC protein abundance. Inhibition of ERK 1,2 MAPK significantly decreased both IL-1α and β-induced α-ENaC protein expression whereas inhibition of p38 MAPK only blocked IL-1β-induced α-ENaC protein levels. In contrast, IL-1-induced α-ENaC protein levels were unaffected by a c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) inhibitor. Our results suggest that in MLE-12 cells, IL-1-induced elevation of α-ENaC is mediated via NF-κB activation and in part involves stimulation of the ERK 1,2 and p38 MAPK signaling pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-314
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cell Communication and Signaling
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • Alveolar epithelial cells
  • Epithelial sodium channel
  • Inflammation
  • Interleukin-1
  • Signaling pathways

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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