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1.  Cell Selective Cardiovascular Biology of Microsomal Prostaglandin E Synthase-1 
Circulation  2012;127(2):233-243.
Global deletion of microsomal prostaglandin E synthase (mPGES) -1 in mice attenuates the response to vascular injury without a predisposition to thrombogenesis or hypertension. However, enzyme deletion results in cell specific differential utilization by prostaglandin (PG) synthases of the accumulated PGH2 substrate. Here, we generated mice deficient in mPGES-1 in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs), endothelial cells (ECs) and myeloid cells further to elucidate the cardiovascular function of this enzyme.
Methods and Results
VSMC and EC mPGES-1 deletion did not alter blood pressure at baseline or in response to a high salt diet. The propensity to evoked macrovascular and microvascular thrombogenesis was also unaltered. However, both VSMC and EC mPGES-1 deficient mice exhibited a markedly exaggerated neointimal hyperplastic response to wire injury of the femoral artery compared to their littermate controls. The hyperplasia was associated with increased proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and tenascin-C (TN-C) expression. In contrast, the response to injury was markedly suppressed by myeloid cell depletion of mPGES-1 with decreased hyperplasia, leukocyte infiltration and expression of PCNA and TN-C. Conditioned medium derived from mPGES-1 deficient macrophages less potently induced VSMC proliferation and migration than that from wild type macrophages.
Deletion of mPGES-1 in the vasculature and myeloid cells differentially modulates the response to vascular injury, implicating macrophage mPGES-1 as a cardiovascular drug target.
PMCID: PMC3546279  PMID: 23204105
mPGES-1; vascular injury; vascular smooth muscle cell; endothelial cell; macrophage
2.  Expression and cellular localization of cyclooxygenases and prostaglandin E synthases in the hemorrhagic brain 
Although cyclooxygenases (COX) and prostaglandin E synthases (PGES) have been implicated in ischemic stroke injury, little is known about their role in intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH)-induced brain damage. This study examines the expression and cellular localization of COX-1, COX-2, microsomal PGES-1 (mPGES-1), mPGES-2, and cytosolic PGES (cPGES) in mice that have undergone hemorrhagic brain injury.
ICH was induced in C57BL/6 mice by intrastriatal injection of collagenase. Expression and cellular localization of COX-1, COX-2, mPGES-1, mPGES-2, and cPGES were examined by immunofluorescence staining.
In the hemorrhagic brain, COX-1, mPGES-2, and cPGES were expressed constitutively in neurons; COX-1 was also constitutively expressed in microglia. The immunoreactivity of COX-2 was increased in neurons and astrocytes surrounding blood vessels at 5 h and then tended to decrease in neurons and increase in astrocytes at 1 day. At 3 days after ICH, COX-2 was observed primarily in astrocytes but was absent in neurons. Interestingly, the immunoreactivity of mPGES-1 was increased in neurons in the ipsilateral cortex and astrocytes in the ipsilateral striatum at 1 day post-ICH; the immunoreactivity of astrocytic mPGES-1 further increased at 3 days.
Our data suggest that microglial COX-1, neuronal COX-2, and astrocytic COX-2 and mPGES-1 may work sequentially to affect ICH outcomes. These findings have implications for efforts to develop anti-inflammatory strategies that target COX/PGES pathways to reduce ICH-induced secondary brain damage.
PMCID: PMC3062590  PMID: 21385433
3.  Defective Generation of a Humoral Immune Response Is Associated with a Reduced Incidence and Severity of Collagen-Induced Arthritis in Microsomal Prostaglandin E Synthase-1 Null Mice1 
Microsomal PGE synthase-1 (mPGES-1) is an inducible enzyme that acts downstream of cyclooxygenase and specifically catalyzes the conversion of PGH2 to PGE2. The present study demonstrates the effect of genetic deletion of mPGES-1 on the developing immunologic responses and its impact on the clinical model of bovine collagen-induced arthritis. mPGES-1 null and heterozygous mice exhibited decreased incidence and severity of arthritis compared with wild-type mice in a gene dose-dependent manner. Histopathological examination revealed significant reduction in lining hyperplasia and tissue destruction in mPGES-1 null mice compared with their wild-type littermates. mPGES-1 deficient mice also exhibited attenuation of mechanical nociception in a gene dose-dependent manner. In addition, mPGES-1 null and heterozygous mice showed a marked reduction of serum IgG against type II collagen (CII), including subclasses IgG1, IgG2a, IgG2b, IgG2c, and IgG3, compared with wild-type mice, which correlated with the reduction in observed inflammatory features. These results demonstrate for the first time that deficiency of mPGES-1 inhibits the development of collagen-induced arthritis, at least in part, by blocking the development of a humoral immune response against type II collagen. Pharmacologic inhibition of mPGES-1 may therefore impact both the inflammation and the autoimmunity associated with human diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
PMCID: PMC2435291  PMID: 18523303
4.  Microsomal Prostaglandin E2 Synthase-1 Modulates the Response to Vascular Injury 
Circulation  2011;123(6):10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.110.973685.
Microsomal (m) prostaglandin (PG) E2 synthase (S)-1 catalyzes the formation of PGE2 from PGH2, a cyclooxygenase (COX) product that is derived from arachidonic acid. Previous studies in mice suggest that targeting mPGES-1 may be less likely to cause hypertension or thrombosis than COX-2 selective inhibition or deletion in vivo. Indeed, deletion of mPGES-1 retards atherogenesis and angiotensin II-induced aortic aneurysm formation. The role of mPGES-1 in the response to vascular injury is unknown.
Methods and Results
Mice were subjected to wire injury of the femoral artery. Both neointimal area and vascular stenosis were reduced significantly four weeks after injury in mPGES-1 knock out (KO) mice compared to wild type (WT) controls (65.6±5.7 vs 37.7±5.1×103 pixel area and 70.5±13.4% vs 47.7±17.4%, respectively; p < 0.01). Induction of tenascin C (TN-C) after injury, a pro-proliferative and promigratory extracellular matrix protein, was attenuated in the KOs. Consistent with in vivo rediversion of PG biosynthesis, mPGES-1 deleted vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) generated less PGE2, but more PGI2 and expressed reduced TN-C when compared with WT cells. Both suppression of PGE2 and augmentation of PGI2 attenuate TN-C expression, VSMC proliferation and migration in vitro.
Deletion of mPGES-1 in mice attenuates neointimal hyperplasia after vascular injury, in part by regulating TN-C expression. This raises for consideration the therapeutic potential of mPGES-1 inhibitors as adjuvant therapy for percutaneous coronary intervention.
PMCID: PMC3827687  PMID: 21282500
Injury; percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty; prostacyclin; prostaglandins; vascular response
5.  mPGES-1 null mice are resistant to bleomycin-induced skin fibrosis 
Microsomal prostaglandin E2 synthase-1 (mPGES-1) is an inducible enzyme that acts downstream of cyclooxygenase (COX) to specifically catalyze the conversion of prostaglandin (PG) H2 to PGE2. mPGES-1 plays a key role in inflammation, pain and arthritis; however, the role of mPGES-1 in fibrogenesis is largely unknown. Herein, we examine the role of mPGES-1 in a mouse model of skin scleroderma using mice deficient in mPGES-1.
Wild type (WT) and mPGES-1 null mice were subjected to the bleomycin model of cutaneous skin scleroderma. mPGES-1 expressions in scleroderma fibroblasts and in fibroblasts derived from bleomycin-exposed mice were assessed by Western blot analysis. Degree of fibrosis, dermal thickness, inflammation, collagen content and the number of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA)-positive cells were determined by histological analyses. The quantity of the collagen-specific amino acid hydroxyproline was also measured.
Compared to normal skin fibroblasts, mPGES-1 protein expression was elevated in systemic sclerosis (SSc) fibroblasts and in bleomycin-exposed mice. Compared to WT mice, mPGES-1-null mice were resistant to bleomycin-induced inflammation, cutaneous thickening, collagen production and myofibroblast formation.
mPGES-1 expression is required for bleomycin-induced skin fibrogenesis. Inhibition of mPGES-1 may be a viable method to alleviate the development of cutaneous sclerosis and is a potential therapeutic target to control the onset of fibrogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3546456  PMID: 21266028
6.  Microsomal Prostaglandin E Synthase-1 Inhibits PTEN and Promotes Experimental Cholangiocarcinogenesis and Tumor Progression 
Gastroenterology  2011;140(7):2084-2094.
Background & Aims
Microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1 (mPGES-1) is a rate-limiting enzyme that is coupled with cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) in the synthesis of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). Although COX-2 is involved in development and progression of various human cancers, the role of mPGES-1 in carcinogenesis has not been determined. We investigated the role of mPGES-1 in human cholangiocarcinoma growth.
We used immunohistochemical analyses to examine the expression of mPGES-1 in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded human cholangiocarcinoma tissues. The effects of mPGES-1 on human cholangiocarcinoma cells were determined in vitro and in SCID mice. Immunoblotting and immunoprecipitation assays were performed to determine the levels of PTEN and related signaling molecules in human cholangiocarcinoma cells with overexpression or knockdown of mPGES-1.
mPGES-1 is overexpressed in human cholangiocarcinoma tissues. Overexpression of mPGES-1 in human cholangiocarcinoma cells increased tumor cell proliferation, migration, invasion, and colony formation; in contrast, RNAi knockdown of mPGES-1 inhibited tumor growth parameters. In SCID mice with tumor xenografts, mPGES-1 overexpression accelerated tumor formation and increased tumor weight (P<0.01), whereas mPGES-1 knockdown delayed tumor formation and reduced tumor weight (P<0.01). mPGES-1 inhibited the expression of PTEN, leading to activation of the EGFR–PI3K–AKT–mTOR signaling pathways in cholangiocarcinoma cells. mPGES-1–mediated inhibition of PTEN is regulated through blocking of EGR-1 sumoylation and binding to the 5′-UTR of the PTEN gene.
mPGES-1 promotes experimental cholangiocarcinogenesis and tumor progression by inhibiting PTEN.
PMCID: PMC3109169  PMID: 21354147
cancer cell signaling; biliary tract cancer; bile duct; liver
7.  PGE2 produced by the lung augments the effector phase of allergic inflammation 
Elevated PGE2 is a hallmark of most inflammatory lesions. This lipid mediator can induce the cardinal signs of inflammation, and the beneficial actions of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are attributed to inhibition of cyclooxygenase COX-1 and COX-2, enzymes essential in the biosynthesis of PGE2 from arachidonic acid. However, both clinical studies and rodent models suggest that, in the asthmatic lung, PGE2 acts to restrain the immune response and limit physiological change secondary to inflammation. To directly address the role of PGE2 in the lung, we examined the development of disease in mice lacking microsomal prostaglandin E synthase 1 (mPGES1), which converts COX-1/COX-2 derived PGH2 to PGE2. We show that mPGES1 determines PGE2 levels in the naïve lung and is required for increases in PGE2 after ovalbumin (OVA) induced allergy. While loss of either COX-1 or COX-2 increases the disease severity, surprisingly mPGES1 −/− mice show reduced inflammation. However, an increase in serum IgE is still observed in the mPGES1 −/− mice, suggesting that loss of PGE2 does not impair induction of a TH2 response. Furthermore, mPGES1 −/− mice expressing a transgenic OVA-specific T cell receptor are also protected, indicating that PGE2 acts primarily after challenge with inhaled antigen. PGE2 produced by the lung plays the critical role in this response, as loss of lung mPGES1 is sufficient to protect against disease. Together this supports a model in which mPGES1-dependent PGE2 produced by populations of cells native to the lung contributes to the effector phase of some allergic responses.
PMCID: PMC3324636  PMID: 22412193
8.  Upregulation of Cycolooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and Microsomal Prostaglandin E2 Synthase-1 (mPGES-1) in Wall of Ruptured Human Cerebral Aneurysms: Preliminary Results 
Background and Purpose
Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and Microsomal Prostaglandin E2 Synthase-1 (mPGES-1) catalyze isomerization of the cyclooxygenase product PGH2 into PGE2. Deletion of COX-2/mPGES-1 suppresses carotid artery atherogenesis, angiotensin II-induced aortic aneurysms formation, and attenuates neointimal hyperplasia after vascular injury in mice. The upregulation of COX-2/mPGES-1 in the wall of ruptured human cerebral aneurysms is not known.
Ten patients with intracranial aneurysms (five ruptured and five non-ruptured) underwent microsurgical clipping. During the procedure, a segment of the aneurysm dome was resected and immunostained with monoclonal antibodies for COX-1, COX2 and mPGES-1. A segment of the superficial temporal artery (STA) was also removed and immunostained with monoclonal antibodies for COX-1, COX2 and mPGES-1.
All ten aneurysm tissues stained positive for mPGES-1 monoclonal antibody. Expression of mPGES-1 was more abundant in ruptured aneurysm tissue than non-ruptured aneurysms, based on a semiquantitative grading. None of the STA specimens expressed mPGES-1. COX-2 was upregulated in the same distribution as mPGES-1. COX-1 was present constitutively in all tissues.
COX-2/mPGES-1 are expressed in the wall of human cerebral aneurysms and more abundantly in ruptured aneurysms than non-ruptured. We speculate that the protective effect of aspirin against rupture of cerebral aneurysms may be mediated in part by inhibition of COX-2/mPGES-1
PMCID: PMC3383865  PMID: 22588264
Aneurysm; mPGES-1; inflammation; COX-2; COX-1
9.  mPGES-1 and prostaglandin E2: vital role in inflammation, hypoxic response, and survival 
Pediatric Research  2012;72(5):460-467.
Apnea associated with infection and inflammation is a major medical concern in preterm infants. Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) serves as a critical mediator between infection and apnea. We hypothesize that alteration of the microsomal PGE synthase-1 (mPGES-1) PGE2 pathway influences respiratory control and response to hypoxia.
Nine-d-old wild-type (WT) mice, mPGES-1 heterozygote (mPGES-1+/–), and mPGES-1 knockout (mPGES-1–/–) mice were used. Respiration was investigated in mice using flow plethysmography after the mice received either interleukin-1β (IL-1β) (10 µg/kg) or saline. Mice were subjected to a period of normoxia, subsequent exposure to hyperoxia, and finally either moderate (5 min) or severe hypoxia (until 1 min after last gasp).
IL-1β worsened survival in WT mice but not in mice with reduced or no mPGES-1. Reduced expression of mPGES-1 prolonged gasping duration and increased the number of gasps during hypoxia. Response to intracerebroventricular PGE2 was not dependent on mPGES-1 expression.
Activation of mPGES-1 is involved in the rapid and vital response to severe hypoxia as well as inflammation. Attenuation of mPGES-1 appears to have no detrimental effects, yet prolongs autoresuscitation efforts and improves survival. Consequently, inhibition of the mPGES-1 pathway may serve as a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of apnea and respiratory disorders.
PMCID: PMC3647218  PMID: 22926547
10.  Microsomal Prostaglandin E Synthase-2 Is Not Essential For In Vivo Prostaglandin E2 Biosynthesis 
Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) plays an important role in the normal physiology of many organ systems. Increased levels of this lipid mediator are associated with many disease states, and it potently regulates inflammatory responses. Three enzymes capable of in vitro synthesis of PGE2 from the cyclooxygenase metabolite PGH2 have been described. Here, we examine the contribution of one of these enzymes to PGE2 production, mPges-2, which encodes microsomal prostaglandin synthase-2 (mPGES-2), by generating mice homozygous for the null allele of this gene. Loss of mPges-2 expression did not result in a measurable decrease in PGE2 levels in any tissue or cell type examined from healthy mice. Taken together, analysis of the mPGES-2 deficient mouse lines does not substantiate the contention that mPGES-2 is a PGE2 synthase.
PMCID: PMC3182462  PMID: 19010439
Microsomal Prostaglandin E2 Synthase-2; Prostaglandin E2
11.  Selective PGE2 suppression impairs colon carcinogenesis and modifies local mucosal immunity 
Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) is a bioactive lipid that mediates a wide range of physiological effects and plays a central role in inflammation and cancer. PGE2 is generated from arachidonic acid by the sequential actions of the cyclooxygenases (COXs) and terminal synthases (PGES). Increased levels of COX-2, with a concomitant elevation of PGE2, are often found in colorectal cancers (CRC), providing the rationale for the use of COX-2 inhibitors for chemoprevention. Despite their proven efficacy in cancer prevention, however, COX-2 inhibitors exhibit dose-dependent toxicities that are mediated in part by their non-specific reduction of essential prostanoids, thus limiting their chemopreventive benefit. To achieve enhanced specificity, recent efforts have been directed towards targeting the inducible terminal synthase in the production of PGE2, microsomal PGES (mPGES-1). In the present study, we show that genetic deletion of mPGES-1 affords significant protection against carcinogen-induced colon cancer. mPGES-1 gene deletion results in an ~80% decrease in tumor multiplicity and up to a 90% reduction in tumor load in the distal colon of azoxymethane (AOM)-treated mice. Associated with the striking cancer suppression, we have identified a critical role for PGE2 in the control of immunoregulatory cell expansion (FoxP3-positive regulatory T cells) within the colon-draining mesenteric lymph nodes, providing a potential mechanism by which suppression of PGE2 may protect against CRC. These results provide new insights into how PGE2 controls anti-tumor immunity.
PMCID: PMC3151318  PMID: 21576350
Colorectal cancer; microsomal prostaglandin synthase-1; prostaglandin E2; mucosal ulcer; regulatory T cells
12.  Microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1 in both cancer cells and hosts contributes to tumour growth, invasion and metastasis 
Biochemical Journal  2009;425(Pt 2):361-371.
mPGES-1 (microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1) is a stimulus-inducible enzyme that functions downstream of COX (cyclo-oxygenase)-2 in the PGE2 (prostaglandin E2)-biosynthesis pathway. Although COX-2-derived PGE2 is known to play a role in the development of various tumours, the involvement of mPGES-1 in carcinogenesis has not yet been fully understood. In the present study, we used LLC (Lewis lung carcinoma) cells with mPGES-1 knockdown or overexpression, as well as mPGES-1-deficient mice to examine the roles of cancer cell- and host-associated mPGES-1 in the processes of tumorigenesis in vitro and in vivo. We found that siRNA (small interfering RNA) silencing of mPGES-1 in LLC cells decreased PGE2 synthesis markedly, accompanied by reduced cell proliferation, attenuated Matrigel™ invasiveness and increased extracellular matrix adhesion. Conversely, mPGES-1-overexpressing LLC cells showed increased proliferating and invasive capacities. When implanted subcutaneously into wild-type mice, mPGES-1-silenced cells formed smaller xenograft tumours than did control cells. Furthermore, LLC tumours grafted subcutaneously into mPGES-1-knockout mice grew more slowly than did those grafted into littermate wild-type mice, with concomitant decreases in the density of microvascular networks, the expression of pro-angiogenic vascular endothelial growth factor, and the activity of matrix metalloproteinase-2. Lung metastasis of intravenously injected LLC cells was also significantly less obvious in mPGES-1-null mice than in wild-type mice. Thus our present approaches provide unequivocal evidence for critical roles of the mPGES-1-dependent PGE2 biosynthetic pathway in both cancer cells and host microenvironments in tumour growth and metastasis.
PMCID: PMC2825730  PMID: 19845504
knockout mouse; metastasis; microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1; prostaglandin E2; tumorigenesis; COX, cyclo-oxygenase; cPGES, cytosolic prostaglandin E synthase; DMEM, Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium; dmPGE2, 16,16-dimethyl prostaglandin E2; ECM, extracellular matrix; EP, prostaglandin E receptor; FCS, fetal calf serum; GAPDH, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; HEK, human embryonic kidney; KD, knockdown; KO, knockout; LLC, Lewis lung carcinoma; MMP, matrix metalloproteinase; mPGES, microsomal prostaglandin E synthase; NSAID, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug; PG, prostaglandin; PGES, PGE synthase; RT, reverse transcriptase; siRNA, small interfering RNA; TBS, Tris-buffered saline; TBS-Tween, TBS containing 0.05% Tween 20; VEGF, vascular endothelial growth factor; WT, wild-type
13.  Roles of cyclooxygenase 2 and microsomal prostaglandin E synthase 1 in rat acid reflux oesophagitis 
Gut  2006;55(4):450-456.
Although prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), cyclooxygenase 2 (COX‐2), and microsomal prostaglandin E synthase 1 (mPGES‐1) are known to play a role in various inflammatory events, their roles in the pathogenesis of gastro‐oesophageal reflux disease are not known.
We examined the dynamics of COX‐1, COX‐2, mPGES‐1, mPGES‐2, cytosolic PGES (cPGES), and PGE2 synthetic activity in rat acid reflux oesophagitis and the effects of COX‐2 inhibitors on the severity of oesophagitis.
Acid reflux oesophagitis was induced by ligating the transitional region between the forestomach and the glandular portion and wrapping the duodenum near the pylorus. Rats were killed on day 3 (acute phase) or day 21 (chronic phase) after induction of oesophagitis.
Expression of COX‐2 and mPGES‐1 was markedly increased in oesophagitis while modest changes in COX‐1, cPGES, and mPGES‐2 expression were observed. COX‐2 and mPGES‐1 were colocalised in epithelial cells of the basal layer, as well as inflammatory and mesenchymal cells in the lamina propria and submucosa. COX‐2 inhibitors significantly reduced the severity of chronic oesophagitis but did not affect acute oesophageal lesions. COX‐2 inhibitors significantly inhibited the increase in PGE2 synthesis in oesophageal lesions on both days 3 and 21. Epithelial proliferation was significantly increased in the basal layer on day 21. Inflammatory cells and epithelial cells of the basal layer exhibited reactions for EP4 in oesophagitis.
PGE2 derived from COX‐2 and mPGES‐1 plays a significant role in the pathogenesis of chronic acid reflux oesophagitis, and possibly in basal hyperplasia and persistent inflammatory cell infiltration.
PMCID: PMC1856161  PMID: 16210398
cyclooxygenase 2; microsomal prostaglandin E synthesis 1; prostaglandin E2; cyclooxygenase 2 inhibitors; reflux oesophagitis
14.  Microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1 (mPGES-1) promotes hepatocarcinogenesis through activation of a novel EGR1/β-catenin signaling axis 
Oncogene  2011;31(7):842-857.
Microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1 (mPGES-1) is a key enzyme that couples with cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) for the production of PGE2. Although COX-2 is known to mediate the growth and progression of several human cancers including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the role of mPGES-1 in hepatocarcinogenesis is not well established. This study provides novel evidence for a key role of mPGES-1 in HCC growth and progression. Forced overexpression of mPGES-1 in two HCC cell lines (Hep3B and Huh7) increased tumor cell growth, clonogenic formation, migration and invasion, whereas knockdown of mPGES-1 inhibited these parameters, in vitro. In a SCID mouse tumor xenograft model, mPGES-1 overexpressed cells formed palpable tumors at earlier time points and developed larger tumors when compared to the control (p<0.01); in contrast, mPGES-1 knockdown delayed tumor development and reduced tumor size (p<0.01). Mechanistically, mPGES-1-induced HCC cell proliferation, invasion and migration involve PGE2 production and activation of early growth response 1 (EGR1) and β-catenin. Specifically, mPGES-1-derived PGE2 induces the formation of EGR1-β-catenin complex, which interacts with TCF4/LEF1 transcription factors and activates the expression of β-catenin downstream genes. Our findings depict a novel crosstalk between mPGES-1/PGE2 and EGR1/β-catenin signaling that is critical for hepatocarcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3193853  PMID: 21743491
Microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1 (mPGES-1); β-catenin; early growth response 1 (EGR1); hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); liver
15.  Potential roles of microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1 in rheumatoid arthritis 
Inflammation and regeneration  2011;31(2):157-166.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease which primarily affects the synovial joints leading to inflammation, pain and joint deformities. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and glucocorticoids, both of which inhibit cyclooxygenase (COX), have been extensively used for treating RA patients. Prostaglandin E synthase (PGES) is a specific biosynthetic enzyme that acts downstream of COX and converts prostaglandin (PG) H2 to PGE2. Among PGES isozymes, microsomal PGES-1 (mPGES-1) has been shown to be induced in a variety of cells and tissues under inflammatory conditions. The induction of mPGES-1 in the synovial tissue of RA patients is closely associated with the activation of the tissue by proinflammatory cytokines. Although selective mPGES-1 inhibitors have not yet been widely available, mice lacking mPGES-1 (mPGES-1–/– mice) have been generated to evaluate the physiological and pathological roles of mPGES-1 in vivo. Recent studies utilizing mPGES-1–/– mice have demonstrated the significance of mPGES-1 in the process of chronic inflammation and evocation of humoral immune response in autoimmune arthritis models. These recent findings highlight mPGES-1 as a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of autoimmune inflammatory diseases, including RA. Currently, both natural and synthetic chemicals are being tested for inhibition of mPGES-1 activity to produce PGE2. The present review focuses on the recent advances in understanding the role of mPGES-1 in the pathophysiology of RA.
PMCID: PMC3269760  PMID: 22308189
inflammation; microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1; prostaglandin E2; rheumatoid arthritis; T-cell-dependent humoral immunity
16.  Membrane-associated prostaglandin E synthase-1 is upregulated by proinflammatory cytokines in chondrocytes from patients with osteoarthritis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2004;6(4):R355-R365.
Prostaglandin E synthase (PGES) including isoenzymes of membrane-associated PGES (mPGES)-1, mPGES-2, and cytosolic PGES (cPGES) is the recently identified terminal enzyme of the arachidonic acid cascade. PGES converts prostaglandin (PG)H2 to PGE2 downstream of cyclooxygenase (COX). We investigated the expression of PGES isoenzyme in articular chondrocytes from patients with osteoarthritis (OA). Chondrocytes were treated with various cytokines and the expression of PGES isoenzyme mRNA was analyzed by the reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction and Northern blotting, whereas Western blotting was performed for protein expression. The subcellular localization of mPGES-1 was determined by immunofluorescent microscopy. Conversion of arachidonic acid or PGH2 to PGE2 was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Finally, the expression of mPGES-1 protein in OA articular cartilage was assessed by immunohistochemistry. Expression of mPGES-1 mRNA in chondrocytes was significantly induced by interleukin (IL)-1β or tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, whereas other cytokines, such as IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, and interferon-γ, had no effect. COX-2 was also induced under the same conditions, although its pattern of expression was different. Expression of cPGES, mPGES-2, and COX-1 mRNA was not affected by IL-1β or TNF-α. The subcellular localization of mPGES-1 and COX-2 almost overlapped in the perinuclear region. In comparison with 6-keto-PGF1α and thromboxane B2, the production of PGE2 was greater after chondrocytes were stimulated by IL-1β or TNF-α. Conversion of PGH2 to PGE2 (PGES activity) was significantly increased in the lysate from IL-1β-stimulated chondrocytes and it was inhibited by MK-886, which has an inhibitory effect on mPGES-1 activity. Chondrocytes in articular cartilage from patients with OA showed positive immunostaining for mPGES-1. These results suggest that mPGES-1 might be important in the pathogenesis of OA. It might also be a potential new target for therapeutic strategies that specifically modulate PGE2 synthesis in patients with OA.
PMCID: PMC464891  PMID: 15225371
chondrocytes; interleukin-1β; osteoarthritis; prostaglandin E synthase; tumor necrosis factor-α
17.  Genetic deletion of mPGES-1 abolishes PGE2 production in murine dendritic cells and alters the cytokine profile, but does not affect maturation or migration 
We undertook this study to determine the role of microsomal PGE synthase-1 (mPGES-1) and mPGES-1-generated prostaglandin (PG) E2 on dendritic cell (DC) phenotype and function. Using mPGES-1 knockout (KO) mice, we generated bone marrow derived DCs and determined their eicosanoid production profile, cell surface marker expression, and cytokine production. We also assessed DC migratory and functional capacity in vivo. Compared to wild-type, mPGES-1 deficient DCs exhibited a markedly attenuated increase in PGE2 production upon LPS stimulation, and displayed preferential shunting towards PGD2 production. mPGES-1 KO DCs did not display deficiencies in maturation, migration or ability to sensitize T cells. However, mPGES-1 deficient DCs generated reduced amounts of the Th1 cytokine IL-12, which may in part be due to increased PGD2 rather than decreased PGE2. These findings provide useful information on the effects of inducible PGE2 on the innate immune system, and have important implications regarding potential consequences of pharmacologic mPGES-1 inhibition.
PMCID: PMC3072052  PMID: 21190819
18.  Elevated microsomal prostaglandin-E synthase–1 in Alzheimer's disease 
The proinflammatory prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) fluctuates over time in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD), but the cerebral distribution and expression patterns of microsomal prostaglandin-E synthase (mPGES)–1 have not been compared with those of normal human brains.
Middle frontal gyrus tissue from AD and age-matched control brains was analyzed by Western blot, immunofluorescence, and immunohistochemistry with mPGES-1–specific antibodies.
Western blotting revealed that mPGES-1 expression was significantly elevated in AD tissue. Furthermore, immunofluorescence of mPGES-1 was observed in neurons, microglia, and endothelial cells of control and AD tissue. Although mPGES-1 was consistently present in astrocytes of control tissue, it was present in only some astrocytes of AD tissue. Immunohistochemical staining suggested that mPGES-1 was elevated in pyramidal neurons of AD tissue when compared with controls.
The results suggest that mPGES-1 is normally expressed constitutively in human neurons, microglia, astrocytes, and endothelial cells but is up-regulated in AD.
PMCID: PMC2500207  PMID: 18631945
β-Amyloid; Cyclooxygenase; Middle frontal gyrus; Neuroinflammation; PGES
19.  Effects of immunosuppressive treatment on microsomal prostaglandin E synthase 1 and cyclooxygenases expression in muscle tissue of patients with polymyositis or dermatomyositis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2007;67(11):1596-1602.
To investigate the expression of microsomal prostaglandin E (PGE) synthase 1 (mPGES-1) and cyclooxygenase (COX) in muscle biopsies from patients with polymyositis or dermatomyositis before and after conventional immunosuppressive treatment.
mPGES-1 and COX expression was evaluated by immunohistochemistry in muscle tissue from healthy individuals and from patients with polymyositis or dermatomyositis before and after conventional immunosuppressive treatment. The number of inflammatory cell infiltrates, T lymphocytes and macrophages was estimated before and after treatment. To localise the mPGES-1 expression double immunofluorescence was performed with antibodies against mPGES-1, CD3, CD68, CD163 and a fibroblast marker. A functional index was used to assess muscle function.
In patients with myositis, mPGES-1, COX-2 and COX-1 expression was significantly higher compared to healthy individuals and associated with inflammatory cells. Double immunofluorescence demonstrated a predominant expression of mPGES-1 in macrophages. Conventional immunosuppressive treatment resulted in improved but still lower muscle function than normal. A decreased number of CD68-positive macrophages and reduced COX-2 expression in muscle tissue was also seen. By contrast, following the same treatment no significant changes were observed in muscle tissue regarding number of infiltrates, T lymphocytes, CD163-positive macrophages or mPGES-1 protein levels.
Increased expression of mPGES-1, COX-1 and COX-2 at protein level was observed in muscle tissue from patients with myositis compared to healthy individuals. Conventional immunosuppressive treatment led to a significant downregulation of COX-2 in myositis muscle tissue. However, the expression of mPGES-1 and COX-1 remained unchanged indicating a role of these enzymes in the chronicity of these diseases.
PMCID: PMC2582339  PMID: 18094001
20.  Engineering of a novel hybrid enzyme: an anti-inflammatory drug target with triple catalytic activities directly converting arachidonic acid into the inflammatory prostaglandin E2 
Cyclooxygenase isoform-2 (COX-2) and microsomal prostaglandin E2 synthase-1 (mPGES-1) are inducible enzymes that become up-regulated in inflammation and some cancers. It has been demonstrated that their coupling reaction of converting arachidonic acid (AA) into prostaglandin (PG) E2 (PGE2) is responsible for inflammation and cancers. Understanding their coupling reactions at the molecular and cellular levels is a key step toward uncovering the pathological processes in inflammation. In this paper, we describe a structure-based enzyme engineering which produced a novel hybrid enzyme that mimics the coupling reactions of the inducible COX-2 and mPGES-1 in the native ER membrane. Based on the hypothesized membrane topologies and structures, the C-terminus of COX-2 was linked to the N-terminus of mPGES-1 through a transmembrane linker to form a hybrid enzyme, COX-2-10aa-mPGES-1. The engineered hybrid enzyme expressed in HEK293 cells exhibited strong triple-catalytic functions in the continuous conversion of AA into PGG2 (catalytic-step 1), PGH2 (catalytic-step 2) and PGE2 (catalytic-step 3), a pro-inflammatory mediator. In addition, the hybrid enzyme was also able to directly convert dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA) into PGG1, PGH1 and then PGE1 (an anti-inflammatory mediator). The hybrid enzyme retained similar Kd and Vmax values to that of the parent enzymes, suggesting that the configuration between COX-2 and mPGES-1 (through the transmembrane domain) could mimic the native conformation and membrane topologies of COX-2 and mPGES-1 in the cells. The results indicated that the quick coupling reaction between the native COX-2 and mPGES-1 (in converting AA into PGE2) occurred in a way so that both enzymes are localized near each other in a face-to-face orientation, where the COX-2 C-terminus faces the mPGES-1 N-terminus in the ER membrane. The COX-2-10aa-mPGES-1 hybrid enzyme engineering may be a novel approach in creating inflammation cell and animal models, which are particularly valuable targets for the next generation of NSAID screening.
PMCID: PMC2777022  PMID: 19850676
cyclooxygenase (COX); inflammation; prostaglandin E2 (PGE2); prostaglandin E2 synthase (PGES); protein engineering
21.  Carnosol and Carnosic Acids from Salvia officinalis Inhibit Microsomal Prostaglandin E2 Synthase-1 
Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), the most relevant eicosanoid promoting inflammation and tumorigenesis, is formed by cyclooxygenases (COXs) and PGE2 synthases from free arachidonic acid. Preparations of the leaves of Salvia officinalis are commonly used in folk medicine as an effective antiseptic and anti-inflammatory remedy and possess anticancer activity. Here, we demonstrate that a standard ethyl acetate extract of S. officinalis efficiently suppresses the formation of PGE2 in a cell-free assay by direct interference with microsomal PGE2 synthase (mPGES)-1. Bioactivity-guided fractionation of the extract yielded closely related fractions that potently suppressed mPGES-1 with IC50 values between 1.9 and 3.5 μg/ml. Component analysis of these fractions revealed the diterpenes carnosol and carnosic acid as potential bioactive principles inhibiting mPGES-1 activity with IC50 values of 5.0 μM. Using a human whole-blood assay as a robust cell-based model, carnosic acid, but not carnosol, blocked PGE2 generation upon stimulation with lipopolysaccharide (IC50 = 9.3 μM). Carnosic acid neither inhibited the concomitant biosynthesis of other prostanoids [6-keto PGF1α, 12(S)-hydroxy-5-cis-8,10-trans-heptadecatrienoic acid, and thromboxane B2] in human whole blood nor affected the activities of COX-1/2 in a cell-free assay. Together, S. officinalis extracts and its ingredients carnosol and carnosic acid inhibit PGE2 formation by selectively targeting mPGES-1. We conclude that the inhibitory effect of carnosic acid on PGE2 formation, observed in the physiologically relevant whole-blood model, may critically contribute to the anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic properties of S. officinalis.
PMCID: PMC3523389  PMID: 22511203
22.  Enhanced pressor response to acute angiotensin II infusion in mice lacking membrane-associated prostaglandin E2 synthase-1 
Acta pharmacologica Sinica  2010;31(10):1284-1292.
COX-2-mPGES-1-derived prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) plays important roles in regulating vascular tone and renal sodium excretion; however, little is known about the role of mPGES-1 during acute blood pressure regulation. The present study was designed to examine the contribution of vascular mPGES-1 to acute blood pressure homeostasis.
Angiotensin II (AngII, 75 pmol/kg/min) was continuously infused via the jugular vein into wild-type and mPGES-1−/− mice for 30 min, and blood pressure was measured by carotid arterial catheterization. RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry were performed to detect the expression and localization of mPGES-1 in the mouse arterial vessels. Mesenteric arteries were dissected from mice of both genotypes to study vessel tension and measure vascular PGE2 levels.
Wild-type and mPGES-1−/− mice showed similar blood pressure levels at baseline, and the acute intravenous infusion of AngII caused a greater increase in mean arterial pressure in the mPGES-1−/− group, with a similar diuretic and natriuretic response in both groups. mPGES-1 was constitutively expressed in the aortic and mesenteric arteries and vascular smooth muscle cells of wild-type mice. Strong staining was detected in the smooth muscle layer of arterial vessels. Ex vivo treatment of mesenteric arteries with AngII produced more vasodilatory PGE2 in wild-type than in mPGES-1−/− mice. In vitro tension assays further revealed that the mesenteric arteries of mPGES-1−/− mice exhibited a greater vasopressor response to AngII than those arteries of wild-type mice.
Vascular mPGES-1 acts as an important tonic vasodilator, contributing to acute blood pressure regulation.
PMCID: PMC3895497  PMID: 20871624
PGE2; mPGES-1; Angiotensin II; Blood pressure; Resistant vessel
23.  Expression of cyclooxygenase 2, microsomal prostaglandin E synthase 1, and EP receptors is increased in rat oesophageal squamous cell dysplasia and Barrett’s metaplasia induced by duodenal contents reflux 
Gut  2004;53(1):27-33.
Background and aim: It is known that bile acids can induce mucosal injury, stimulate cell proliferation, and promote tumorigenesis. A large body of genetic and biochemical evidence indicate that the biosynthetic pathway of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) may play an important role in human and rodent tumours. Therefore, we examined the expression pattern of cyclooxygenase 1 (COX-1), COX-2, and microsomal prostaglandin E synthase 1 (mPGES-1), as well as EP receptor subtypes in rat oesophageal lesions induced by duodenal contents reflux.
Methods: Oesophagoduodenal anastomosis was performed in rats to induce duodenal contents reflux. We examined histological changes and expression of COX-1, COX-2, mPGES-1, and EP receptor subtypes in the oesophagus by immunohistochemistry and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction.
Results: Normal control oesophageal tissues showed COX-1 expression in subepithelial stromal cells, including endothelial cells and muscular cells, and did not reveal expression of COX-2 or mPGES-1. In the case of squamous cell lesions, immunoreactivity of COX-1 was similar to that of normal lesions, and COX-2 was maximally expressed around the vascular papillae of tissues showing dysplasia and surrounding epithelial layer and basal layer. mPGES-1 was highly expressed in stromal cells with COX-2 expression. In the case of Barrett’s oesophagus, COX-2 and mPGES-1 were predominantly in subepithelial stromal cells. mRNA levels of COX-2, mPGES-1, EP2, EP3, and EP4 were higher in the experimental groups than in controls.
Conclusions: We suggest that the biosynthetic pathway of PGE2 may play an important role in oesophageal squamous cell dysplasia and glandular metaplasia induced by duodenal contents reflux.
PMCID: PMC1773937  PMID: 14684572
cyclooxygenase 2; microsomal prostaglandin E synthase 1; EP receptors; squamous cell dysplasia; Barrett’s oesophagus
24.  Pharmacological Inhibition of Microsomal Prostaglandin E Synthase-1 Suppresses Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor-Mediated Tumor Growth and Angiogenesis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e40576.
Blockade of Prostaglandin (PG) E2 production via deletion of microsomal Prostaglandin E synthase-1 (mPGES-1) gene reduces tumor cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo on xenograft tumors. So far the therapeutic potential of the pharmacological inhibition of mPGES-1 has not been elucidated. PGE2 promotes epithelial tumor progression via multiple signaling pathways including the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling pathway.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Here we evaluated the antitumor activity of AF3485, a compound of a novel family of human mPGES-1 inhibitors, in vitro and in vivo, in mice bearing human A431 xenografts overexpressing EGFR. Treatment of the human cell line A431 with interleukin-1beta (IL-1β) increased mPGES-1 expression, PGE2 production and induced EGFR phosphorylation, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) expression. AF3485 reduced PGE2 production, both in quiescent and in cells stimulated by IL-1β. AF3485 abolished IL-1β-induced activation of the EGFR, decreasing VEGF and FGF-2 expression, and tumor-mediated endothelial tube formation. In vivo, in A431 xenograft, AF3485, administered sub-chronically, decreased tumor growth, an effect related to inhibition of EGFR signalling, and to tumor microvessel rarefaction. In fact, we observed a decrease of EGFR phosphorylation, and VEGF and FGF-2 expression in tumours explanted from treated mice.
Our work demonstrates that the pharmacological inhibition of mPGES-1 reduces squamous carcinoma growth by suppressing PGE2 mediated-EGFR signalling and by impairing tumor associated angiogenesis. These results underscore the potential of mPGES-1 inhibitors as agents capable of controlling tumor growth.
PMCID: PMC3399882  PMID: 22815767
25.  Immunohistochemical Demonstration of Membrane-bound Prostaglandin E2 Synthase-1 in Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma 
Acta Histochemica et Cytochemica  2009;42(4):105-109.
Microsomal prostaglandin E2 synthase-1 (mPGES-1) is an inducible enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of prostaglandin (PG) H2 to PGE2 in downstream of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). Recent studies have obtained in vitro evidence that PGE2 participates in carcinogenesis, angiogenesis, and induction of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), which plays a crucial role in cancer invasion. However, implications for mPGES-1 in thyroid carcinomas remain to be determined. To address this issue, we performed an immunohistochemical analysis for mPGES-1, COX-2 and MMP-9 in 20 papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) patients. mPGES-1 immunoreactivity was localized in the cytoplasm of carcinoma cells in 19 cases, with an intensity that tended to be distinct at the interface between the tumor and the surrounding non-neoplastic tissue. Staining was more intense in regions with papillary arrangement, while it was less intense in regions with trabecular or solid arrangement. In many cases, immunohistochemical localization of COX-2 and MMP-9 resemble that of mPGES-1. Taken together, our results suggest the involvement of mPGES-1 in proliferation and differentiation of PTC as well as local invasion of PTC.
PMCID: PMC2742720  PMID: 19759871
cyclooxygenase-2; immunohistochemistry; matrix metalloproteinase; papillary thyroid carcinoma; prostaglandin E synthase

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