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Investigation of Mechanism of p38 MAPK Activation in Renal Epithelial Cell from Distal Tubules Triggered by Cardiotonic Steroids

O. A. Akimova1,2,3*, O. D. Lopina1, A. M. Rubtsov1, P. Hamet3, and S. N. Orlov1,2,3

1Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119991 Moscow, Russia; fax: (495) 939-5022; E-mail: ol_akimova@hotmail.com

2Institute of General Pathology and Pathophysiology, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, ul. Baltiiskaya 8, 125315 Moscow, Russia

3Centre de Recherche, Centre Hospitalier de l’Universite de Montreal (CHUM) – Technopole-Angus, 2901 Rachel Est, Montreal, Canada, H1W 4A4

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received March 4, 2010; Revision received April 9, 2010
Ouabain and other cardiotonic steroids (CTS) kill renal epithelial cells from distal tubules (C7-MDCK) via interaction with Na,K-ATPase but independently of inhibition of Na,K-ATPase-mediated ion fluxes. Recently, we demonstrated that modest intracellular acidification and inhibition of p38 MAPK suppress death of C7-MDCK cells triggered by ouabain. In the present study we investigate the mechanism of p38 MAPK activation in renal epithelial cell from distal tubules evoked by cardiotonic steroids. Using Na+/K+ ionophores (monensin, nigericin) and media with different content of monovalent cations, we revealed that p38 MAPK phosphorylation in ouabain-treated renal epithelial cells is not caused by Na,K-ATPase inhibition and inversion of the [Na+]i/[K+]i ratio. We also demonstrated that attenuation of pH from 7.45 to 6.75 did not alter the level of p38 MAPK phosphorylation observed in ouabain-treated cells. Inhibitors of PKA, PKC, and PKG as well as protein phosphatases were unable to abolish p38 MAPK activation triggered by ouabain. Using phosphotyrosine antibodies we did not detect any effect of ouabain on activation of tyrosine kinases. Thus, our results show that activation of p38 MAPK and cytotoxic action of CTS are independent of intracellular Na+, K+, and H+ concentrations. The molecular origin of intermediates of death signaling induced by CTS via conformation changes of Na,K-ATPase with following activation of p38 MAPK should be examined further.
KEY WORDS: Na,K-ATPase, ouabain, ionophores, intracellular Na+ and K+, p38 MAPK, kidney, cell death

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297910080043