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Volume 10 (2010), Pages 1580-1596
Research Article

Selective Inhibitors of Kv11.1 Regulate IL-6 Expression by Macrophages in Response to TLR/IL-1R Ligands

1MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, Queen's Medical Research Institute, College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, UK
2Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA
3William Harvey Research Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, UK

Received 29 April 2010; Revised 29 June 2010; Accepted 8 July 2010

Academic Editor: Marco A. Cassatella

Copyright © 2010 Cheryl Hunter et al.


The mechanism by which the platelet-endothelial cell adhesion molecule PECAM-1 regulates leukodiapedesis, vascular endothelial integrity, and proinflammatory cytokine expression in vivo is not known. We recently identified PECAM-1 as a negative regulator of Kv11.1, a specific voltage-gated potassium channel that functioned in human macrophages to reset a resting membrane potential following depolarization. We demonstrate here that dofetilide (DOF), a selective inhibitor of the Kv11.1 current, had a profound inhibitory effect on neutrophil recruitment in mice following TLR/IL-1R–elicited peritonitis or intrascrotal injection of IL-1β, but had no effect on responses seen with TNFα. Furthermore, inhibitors of Kv11.1 (DOF, E4031, and astemizole), but not Kv1.3 (margatoxin), suppressed the expression of IL-6 and MCP-1 cytokines by murine resident peritoneal macrophages, while again having no effect on TNFα. In contrast, IL-6 expression by peritoneal mesothelial cells was unaffected. Using murine P388 cells, which lack endogenous C/EBPβexpression and are unresponsive to LPS for the expression of both IL-6 and MCP-1, we observed that DOF inhibited LPS-induced expression of IL-6 mRNA following ectopic expression of wild-type C/EBPβ, but not a serine-64 point mutant. Finally, DOF inhibited the constitutive activation of cdk2 in murine peritoneal macrophages; cdk2 is known to phosphorylate C/EBPβ at serine-64. Taken together, our results implicate a potential role for Kv11.1 in regulating cdk2 and C/EBPβ activity, where robust transactivation of both IL-6 and MCP-1 transcription is known to be dependent on serine-64 of C/EBPβ. Our data might also explain the altered phenotypes displayed by PECAM-1 knockout mice in several disease models.