Background: Recent evidence suggests that reactive astrocytes play an important role in neuroinflammation and neurodegenerative diseases. Thus, controlling astrocyte reactivity has been suggested as a promising strategy for treating neurodegenerative diseases. In the present study, we investigated whether a matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-8 inhibitor, M8I, could control neuroinflammation in lipoteichoic acid (LTA)-stimulated rat primary astrocytes. Methods: The effects of M8I on the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase, cytokines, and MMPs were examined in LTA-stimulated rat primary astrocytes by ELISA, RT-PCR, and Western blot analysis. The effects of M8I on reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and phase II antioxidant enzyme expression were examined by the DCF-DA assay, RT-PCR, and Western blot analysis. The detailed molecular mechanisms underlying the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of M8I were analyzed by the electrophoretic mobility shift assay, the reporter gene assay, Western blot, and RT-PCR analysis. Results: Treatment with LTA, a major cell wall component of Gram-positive bacteria, led to astrocyte activation and induced the expression of inflammatory molecules such as iNOS, COX-2, and pro-inflammatory cytokines. In addition, LTA induced the expression of MMPs such as MMP-1, MMP-3, MMP-8, MMP-9, and MMP-13 in rat primary astrocytes. Based on previous reports showing that MMP-8 plays a role as a proinflammatory mediator in microglia, we investigated whether MMP-8 is also involved in inflammatory reactions of reactive astrocytes. We found that treatment of astrocytes with M8I significantly inhibited LTA-induced expression of iNOS, TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, and TLR-2. In addition, M8I inhibited LTA-induced NF-κB, MAP kinase, and Akt activities, while it increased the anti-inflammatory PPAR-γ activities. Moreover, M8I showed antioxidant effects by suppressing ROS production in LTA- or H2O2-stimulated astrocytes. Interestingly, M8I increased the expression of phase II antioxidant enzymes such as hemeoxygenase-1, NQO1, catalase, and MnSOD by modulating the Nrf2/ARE signaling pathway. Conclusions: The data collectively suggest the therapeutic potential of an MMP-8 inhibitor in neuroinflammatory disorders that are associated with astrocyte reactivity.
- MMP-8 inhibitor
- Molecular mechanisms