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1.  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
2.  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
3.  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
Hypertension  2010;55(2):531-538.
Prostaglandin (PG) E2 has multiple actions that may affect blood pressure. It is synthesized from arachidonic acid by the sequential actions of phospholipases, cyclooxygenases, and PGE synthases. While microsomal PGE synthase 1 (mPGES1) is the only genetically-verified PGE synthase, results of previous studies examining the consequences of mPGES1-deficiency on blood pressure (BP) are conflicting. To determine whether genetic background modifies the impact of mPGES1 on BP, we generated mPGES1−/− mice on two distinct inbred backgrounds, DBA/1lacJ and 129/SvEv. On the DBA/1 background, baseline BP was similar between wild-type (WT) and mPGES1−/− mice. By contrast, on the 129 background, baseline BPs were significantly higher in mPGES1−/− animals than WT controls. During angiotensin II infusion, the DBA/1 mPGES1−/− and WT mice developed mild hypertension of similar magnitude, while 129-mPGES1−/− mice developed more severe hypertension than WT controls. DBA/1 animals developed only minimal albuminuria in response to angiotensin II infusion. By contrast, WT 129 mice had significantly higher levels of albumin excretion than WT DBA/1 and the extent of albuminuria was further augmented in 129 mPGES1−/− animals. In WT mice of both strains, the increase in urinary excretion of PGE2 with angiotensin II was attenuated in mPGES1−/− animals. Urinary excretion of thromboxane was unaffected by angiotensin II in the DBA/1 lines but increased more than 4-fold in 129 mPGES1−/− mice. These data indicate that genetic background significantly modifies the BP response to mPGES1 deficiency. Exaggerated production of thromboxane may contribute to the robust hypertension and albuminuria in 129 mPGES1-deficient mice.
PMCID: PMC2836731  PMID: 20065147
prostanoids; PGE synthase; blood pressure; strain; hypertension
5.  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
6.  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
7.  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
8.  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
Investigational new drugs  2011;30(5):1865-1877.
Chronic inflammation is associated with 25% of all cancers. In the inflammation-cancer axis, prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) is one of the major players. PGE2 synthases (PGES) are the enzymes downstream of the cyclooxygenases (COXs) in the PGE2 biosynthesis pathway. Microsomal prostaglandin E2 synthase 1 (mPGES-1) is inducible by pro-inflammatory stimuli and constitutively expressed in a variety of cancers. The potential role for this enzyme in tumorigenesis has been reported and mPGES-1 represents a novel therapeutic target for cancers. In order to identify novel small molecule inhibitors of mPGES-1, we screened the ChemBridge library and identified 13 compounds as potential hits. These compounds were tested for their ability to bind directly to the enzyme using surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy and to decrease cytokine-stimulated PGE2 production in various cancer cell lines. We demonstrate that the compound PGE0001 (ChemBridge ID number 5654455) binds to human mPGES-1 recombinant protein with good affinity (KD = 21.3 ± 7.8 μM). PGE0001 reduces IL-1β-induced PGE2 release in human HCA-7 colon and A549 lung cancer cell lines with EC50 in the submicromolar range. Although PGE0001 may have alternative targets based on the results from in vitro assays, it shows promising effects in vivo. PGE0001 exhibits significant anti-tumor activity in SW837 rectum and A549 lung cancer xenografts in SCID mice. Single injection i.p. of PGE0001 at 100 mg/kg decreases serum PGE2 levels in mice within 5 h. In summary, our data suggest that the identified compound PGE0001 exerts anti-tumor activity via the inhibition of the PGE2 synthesis pathway.
PMCID: PMC3295912  PMID: 21931968
prostaglandin E2; drug design; inflammation; cancer; anti-tumor
10.  Genetic Deletion of Microsomal Prostaglandin E Synthase-1 Suppresses Mouse Mammary Tumor Growth and Angiogenesis 
Prostaglandins & other lipid mediators  2013;0:10.1016/j.prostaglandins.2013.04.002.
The cyclooxygenase/prostaglandin (COX/PG) signaling pathway is of central importance in inflammation and neoplasia. COX inhibitors are widely used for analgesia and also have demonstrated activity for cancer prophylaxis. However, cardiovascular toxicity associated with this drug class diminishes their clinical utility and motivates the development of safer approaches both for pain relief and cancer prevention. The terminal synthase microsomal PGE synthase-1 (mPGES-1) has attracted considerable attention as a potential target. Overexpression of mPGES-1 has been observed in both colorectal and breast cancers, and gene knockout and overexpression approaches have established a role for mPGES-1 in gastrointestinal carcinogenesis. Here we evaluate the contribution of mPGES-1 to mammary tumorigenesis using a gene knockout approach. Mice deficient in mPGES-1 were crossed with a strain in which breast cancer is driven by overexpression of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2/neu). Loss of mPGES-1 was associated with a substantial reduction in intramammary PGE2 levels, aromatase activity, and angiogenesis in mammary glands from HER2/neu transgenic mice. Consistent with these findings, we observed a significant reduction in multiplicity of tumors ≥1mm in diameter, suggesting that mPGES-1 contributes to mammary tumor growth. Our data identify mPGES-1 as a potential anti-breast cancer target.
PMCID: PMC3830707  PMID: 23624019
Mouse; mPGES-1; breast cancer; aromatase; angiogenesis; PGE2
11.  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
12.  Inhibition of microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1 by aminothiazoles decreases prostaglandin E2 synthesis in vitro and ameliorates experimental periodontitis in vivo 
The FASEB Journal  2013;27(6):2328-2341.
The potent inflammatory mediator prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) is implicated in the pathogenesis of several chronic inflammatory conditions, including periodontitis. The inducible enzyme microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1 (mPGES-1), catalyzing the terminal step of PGE2 biosynthesis, is an attractive target for selective PGE2 inhibition. To identify mPGES-1 inhibitors, we investigated the effect of aminothiazoles on inflammation-induced PGE2 synthesis in vitro, using human gingival fibroblasts stimulated with the cytokine IL-1β and a cell-free mPGES-1 activity assay, as well as on inflammation-induced bone resorption in vivo, using ligature-induced experimental periodontitis in Sprague-Dawley rats. Aminothiazoles 4-([4-(2-naphthyl)-1,3-thiazol-2-yl]amino)phenol (TH-848) and 4-(3-fluoro-4-methoxyphenyl)-N-(4-phenoxyphenyl)-1,3-thiazol-2-amine (TH-644) reduced IL-1β-induced PGE2 production in fibroblasts (IC50 1.1 and 1.5 μM, respectively) as well as recombinant mPGES-1 activity, without affecting activity or expression of the upstream enzyme cyclooxygenase-2. In ligature-induced experimental periodontitis, alveolar bone loss, assessed by X-ray imaging, was reduced by 46% by local treatment with TH-848, compared to vehicle, without any systemic effects on PGE2, 6-keto PGF1α, LTB4 or cytokine levels. In summary, these results demonstrate that the aminothiazoles represent novel mPGES-1 inhibitors for inhibition of PGE2 production and reduction of bone resorption in experimental periodontitis, and may be used as potential anti-inflammatory drugs for treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases, including periodontitis.—Kats, A., Båge, T., Georgsson, P., Jönsson, J., Quezada, H. C., Gustafsson, A., Jansson, L., Lindberg, C., Näsström, K., Yucel-Lindberg, T. Inhibition of microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1 by aminothiazoles decreases prostaglandin E2 synthesis in vitro and ameliorates experimental periodontitis in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3659347  PMID: 23447581
cyclooxygenase-2; gingival fibroblasts; interleukin-1β; PGE2; mPGES-1 inhibitor; anti-inflammatory
13.  Despite Transcriptional and Functional Coordination, Cyclooxygenase-2 and Microsomal Prostaglandin E Synthase-1 Largely Reside in Distinct Lipid Microdomains in WISH Epithelial Cells 
Cytokine-induced prostaglandin (PG) E2 synthesis requires increased expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) in human WISH epithelial cells. Recently, an inducible downstream PGE synthase (microsomal PGE synthase-1, mPGES-1) has been implicated in this inflammatory pathway. We evaluated cooperation between COX-2 and mPGES-1 as a potential mechanism for induced PGE2 production in WISH cells. Cytokine stimulation led to increased expression of both enzymes. Selective pharmacological inhibition of these enzymes demonstrated that induced PGE2 release occurred through a dominant COX-2/mPGES-1 pathway. Unexpectedly, immunofluorescent microscopy revealed that the expression of these enzymes was not tightly coordinated among cells following cytokine challenge. Within cells expressing high levels of both mPGES-1 and COX-2, immunolabeling of high-resolution semithin cryosections revealed that COX-2 and mPGES-1 were largely segregated to distinct regions within continuous intracellular membranes. Using biochemical means, it was further revealed that the majority of mPGES-1 resided within detergent-insoluble membrane fractions, whereas COX-2 was found only in detergent-soluble fractions. We conclude that although mPGES-1 and COX-2 show transcriptional and functional coordination in cytokine-induced PGE2 synthesis, complementary morphological and biochemical data suggest that a majority of intracellular mPGES-1 and COX-2 are segregated to discrete lipid microdomains in WISH epithelial cells.
PMCID: PMC1282464  PMID: 15983118
Inflammation; cytokines; prostaglandin E2; cyclooxygenase-2; microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1; lipid microdomains; epithelial cells
14.  Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Expression of Microsomal Prostaglandin E Synthase-1 Mediates Late-Phase PGE2 Production in Bone Marrow Derived Macrophages 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e50244.
Cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 expression and release of prostaglandins (PGs) by macrophages are consistent features of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced macrophage inflammation. The two major PGs, PGE2 and PGD2, are synthesized by the prostanoid isomerases, PGE synthases (PGES) and PGD synthases (PGDS), respectively. Since the expression profile and the individual role of these prostanoid isomerases-mediated inflammation in macrophages has not been defined, we examined the LPS-stimulated PGs production pattern and the expression profile of their synthases in the primary cultured mouse bone marrow derived macrophages (BMDM). Our data show that LPS induced both PGE2 and PGD2 production, which was evident by ∼8 hrs and remained at a similar ratio (∼1∶1) in the early phase (≤12 hrs) of LPS treatment. However, PGE2 production continued increase further in the late phase (16–24 hrs); whereas the production of PGD2 remained at a stable level from 12 to 24 hrs post-treatment. In response to LPS-treatment, the expression of both COX-2 and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) was detected within 2 to 4 hrs; whereas the increased expression of microsomal PGES (mPGES)-1 and a myeloid cell transcription factor PU.1 did not appear until later phase (≥12 hrs). In contrast, the expression of COX-1, hematopoietic-PGDS (H-PGDS), cytosolic-PGES (c-PGES), or mPGES-2 in BMDM was not affected by LPS treatment. Selective inhibition of mPGES-1 with either siRNA or isoform-selective inhibitor CAY10526, but not mPGES-2, c-PGES or PU.1, attenuated LPS-induced burst of PGE2 production indicating that mPGES-1 mediates LPS-induced PGE2 production in BMDM. Interestingly, selective inhibition of mPGES-1 was also associated with a decrease in LPS-induced iNOS expression. In summary, our data show that mPGES-1, but not mPGES-2 or c-PGES isomerase, mediates LPS-induced late-phase burst of PGE2 generation, and regulates LPS-induced iNOS expression in BMDM.
PMCID: PMC3511480  PMID: 23226252
15.  Prostaglandin E2 Induction during Mouse Adenovirus Type 1 Respiratory Infection Regulates Inflammatory Mediator Generation but Does Not Affect Viral Pathogenesis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77628.
Respiratory viruses cause substantial disease and are a significant healthcare burden. Virus-induced inflammation can be detrimental to the host, causing symptoms during acute infection and leading to damage that contributes to long-term residual lung disease. Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) is a lipid mediator that is increased in response to many viral infections, and inhibition of PGE2 production during respiratory viral infection often leads to a decreased inflammatory response. We tested the hypothesis that PGE2 promotes inflammatory responses to mouse adenovirus type 1 (MAV-1) respiratory infection. Acute MAV-1 infection increased COX-2 expression and PGE2 production in wild type mice. Deficiency of the E prostanoid 2 receptor had no apparent effect on MAV-1 pathogenesis. Virus-induced induction of PGE2, IFN-γ, CXCL1, and CCL5 was reduced in mice deficient in microsomal PGE synthase-1 (mPGES-1-/- mice). However, there were no differences between mPGES-1+/+ and mPGES-1-/- mice in viral replication, recruitment of leukocytes to airways or lung inflammation. Infection of both mPGES‑1+/+ and mPGES-1-/- mice led to protection against reinfection. Thus, while PGE2 promotes the expression of a variety of cytokines in response to acute MAV-1 infection, PGE2 synthesis does not appear to be essential for generating pulmonary immunity.
PMCID: PMC3797793  PMID: 24147040
16.  Understanding Microscopic Binding of Human Microsomal Prostaglandin E Synthase-1 (mPGES-1) Trimer with Substrate PGH2 and Cofactor GSH: Insights from Computational Alanine Scanning and Site-directed Mutagenesis 
The journal of physical chemistry. B  2010;114(16):5605-5616.
Microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1 (mPGES-1) is an essential enzyme involved in a variety of diseases and is the most promising target for the design of next-generation anti-inflammatory drugs. In order to establish a solid structural base, we recently developed a model of mPGES-1 trimer structure by using available crystal structures of both microsomal glutathione transferase-1 (MGST1) and ba3-cytochrome c oxidase as templates. The mPGES-1 trimer model has been used, in the present study, to examine the detailed binding of mPGES-1 trimer with substrate PGH2 and cofactor GSH. Results obtained from the computational alanine scanning reveal the contribution of each residue at the protein-ligand interaction interface to the binding affinity, and the computational predictions are supported by the data obtained from the corresponding wet experimental tests. We have also compared our mPGES-1 trimer model with other available 3D models, including an alternative homology model and a low-resolution crystal structure, and found that our mPGES-1 trimer model based on the crystal structures of both MGST1 and ba3-cytochrome c oxidase is more reasonable than the other homology model of mPGES-1 trimer constructed by simply using a low-resolution crystal structure of MGST1 trimer alone as a template. The available low-resolution crystal structure of mPGES-1 trimer represents a closed conformation of the enzyme and, thus, is not suitable for studying mPGES-1 binding with ligands. Our mPGES-1 trimer model represents a reasonable open conformation of the enzyme and is, therefore, promising for studying mPGES-1 binding with ligands in future structure-based drug design targeting mPGES-1.
PMCID: PMC2879598  PMID: 20369883
17.  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
18.  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
19.  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
20.  Tetra- and Pentacyclic Triterpene Acids from the Ancient Anti-inflammatory Remedy Frankincense as Inhibitors of Microsomal Prostaglandin E2 Synthase-1 
Journal of Natural Products  2014;77(6):1445-1451.
The microsomal prostaglandin E2 synthase (mPGES)-1 is the terminal enzyme in the biosynthesis of prostaglandin (PG)E2 from cyclooxygenase (COX)-derived PGH2. We previously found that mPGES-1 is inhibited by boswellic acids (IC50 = 3–30 μM), which are bioactive triterpene acids present in the anti-inflammatory remedy frankincense. Here we show that besides boswellic acids, additional known triterpene acids (i.e., tircuallic, lupeolic, and roburic acids) isolated from frankincense suppress mPGES-1 with increased potencies. In particular, 3α-acetoxy-8,24-dienetirucallic acid (6) and 3α-acetoxy-7,24-dienetirucallic acid (10) inhibited mPGES-1 activity in a cell-free assay with IC50 = 0.4 μM, each. Structure–activity relationship studies and docking simulations revealed concrete structure-related interactions with mPGES-1 and its cosubstrate glutathione. COX-1 and -2 were hardly affected by the triterpene acids (IC50 > 10 μM). Given the crucial role of mPGES-1 in inflammation and the abundance of highly active triterpene acids in frankincence extracts, our findings provide further evidence of the anti-inflammatory potential of frankincense preparations and reveal novel, potent bioactivities of tirucallic acids, roburic acids, and lupeolic acids.
PMCID: PMC4074212  PMID: 24844534
21.  Lysine-specific demethylase 1-mediated demethylation of histone H3 lysine 9 contributes to interleukin 1β-induced microsomal prostaglandin E synthase 1 expression in human osteoarthritic chondrocytes 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2014;16(3):R113.
Microsomal prostaglandin E synthase 1 (mPGES-1) catalyzes the terminal step in the biosynthesis of PGE2, a critical mediator in the pathophysiology of osteoarthritis (OA). Histone methylation plays an important role in epigenetic gene regulation. In this study, we investigated the roles of histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9) methylation in interleukin 1β (IL-1β)-induced mPGES-1 expression in human chondrocytes.
Chondrocytes were stimulated with IL-1β, and the expression of mPGES-1 mRNA was evaluated using real-time RT-PCR. H3K9 methylation and the recruitment of the histone demethylase lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1) to the mPGES-1 promoter were evaluated using chromatin immunoprecipitation assays. The role of LSD1 was further evaluated using the pharmacological inhibitors tranylcypromine and pargyline and small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated gene silencing. The LSD1 level in cartilage was determined by RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry.
The induction of mPGES-1 expression by IL-1β correlated with decreased levels of mono- and dimethylated H3K9 at the mPGES-1 promoter. These changes were concomitant with the recruitment of the histone demethylase LSD1. Treatment with tranylcypromine and pargyline, which are potent inhibitors of LSD1, prevented IL-1β-induced H3K9 demethylation at the mPGES-1 promoter and expression of mPGES-1. Consistently, LSD1 gene silencing with siRNA prevented IL-1β-induced H3K9 demethylation and mPGES-1 expression, suggesting that LSD1 mediates IL-1β-induced mPGES-1 expression via H3K9 demethylation. We show that the level of LSD1 was elevated in OA compared to normal cartilage.
These results indicate that H3K9 demethylation by LSD1 contributes to IL-1β-induced mPGES-1 expression and suggest that this pathway could be a potential target for pharmacological intervention in the treatment of OA and possibly other arthritic conditions.
PMCID: PMC4060543  PMID: 24886859
22.  Resveratrol potently reduces prostaglandin E2 production and free radical formation in lipopolysaccharide-activated primary rat microglia 
Neuroinflammatory responses are triggered by diverse ethiologies and can provide either beneficial or harmful results. Microglial cells are the major cell type involved in neuroinflammation, releasing several mediators, which contribute to the neuronal demise in several diseases including cerebral ischemia and neurodegenerative disorders. Attenuation of microglial activation has been shown to confer protection against different types of brain injury. Recent evidence suggests that resveratrol has anti-inflammatory and potent antioxidant properties. It has been also shown that resveratrol is a potent inhibitor of cyclooxygenase (COX)-1 activity. Previous findings have demonstrated that this compound is able to reduce neuronal injury in different models, both in vitro and in vivo. The aim of this study was to examine whether resveratrol is able to reduce prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and 8-iso-prostaglandin F2α (8-iso-PGF2α) production by lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated primary rat microglia.
Primary microglial cell cultures were prepared from cerebral cortices of neonatal rats. Microglial cells were stimulated with 10 ng/ml of LPS in the presence or absence of different concentrations of resveratrol (1–50 μM). After 24 h incubation, culture media were collected to measure the production of PGE2 and 8-iso-PGF2α using enzyme immunoassays. Protein levels of COX-1, COX-2 and microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1 (mPGES-1) were studied by Western blotting after 24 h of incubation with LPS. Expression of mPGES-1 at the mRNA level was investigated using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis.
Our results indicate that resveratrol potently reduced LPS-induced PGE2 synthesis and the formation of 8-iso-PGF2α, a measure of free radical production. Interestingly, resveratrol dose-dependently reduced the expression (mRNA and protein) of mPGES-1, which is a key enzyme responsible for the synthesis of PGE2 by activated microglia, whereas resveratrol did not affect the expression of COX-2. Resveratrol is therefore the first known inhibitor which specifically prevents mPGES-1 expression without affecting COX-2 levels. Another important observation of the present study is that other COX-1 selective inhibitors (SC-560 and Valeroyl Salicylate) potently reduced PGE2 and 8-iso-PGF2α production by LPS-activated microglia.
These findings suggest that the naturally occurring polyphenol resveratrol is able to reduce microglial activation, an effect that might help to explain its neuroprotective effects in several in vivo models of brain injury.
PMCID: PMC2100038  PMID: 17927823
23.  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
24.  Hyperforin, an Anti-Inflammatory Constituent from St. John's Wort, Inhibits Microsomal Prostaglandin E2 Synthase-1 and Suppresses Prostaglandin E2 Formation in vivo 
The acylphloroglucinol hyperforin (Hyp) from St. John's wort possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties which were ascribed among others to the inhibition of 5-lipoxygenase. Here, we investigated whether Hyp also interferes with prostanoid generation in biological systems, particularly with key enzymes participating in prostaglandin (PG)E2 biosynthesis, i.e., cyclooxygenases (COX)-1/2 and microsomal PGE2 synthase (mPGES)-1 which play key roles in inflammation and tumorigenesis. Similar to the mPGES-1 inhibitors MK-886 and MD-52, Hyp significantly suppressed PGE2 formation in whole blood assays starting at 0.03–1 μM, whereas the concomitant generation of COX-derived 12(S)-hydroxy-5-cis-8,10-trans-heptadecatrienoic acid, thromboxane B2, and 6-keto PGF1α was not significantly suppressed up to 30 μM. In cell-free assays, Hyp efficiently blocked the conversion of PGH2 to PGE2 mediated by mPGES-1 (IC50 = 1 μM), and isolated COX enzymes were not (COX-2) or hardly (COX-1) suppressed. Intraperitoneal (i.p.) administration of Hyp (4 mg kg−1) to rats impaired exudate volume and leukocyte numbers in carrageenan-induced pleurisy associated with reduced PGE2 levels, and Hyp (given i.p.) inhibited carrageenan-induced mouse paw edema formation (ED50 = 1 mg kg−1) being superior over indomethacin (ED50 = 5 mg kg−1). We conclude that the suppression of PGE2 biosynthesis in vitro and in vivo by acting on mPGES-1 critically contributes to the anti-inflammatory efficiency of Hyp.
PMCID: PMC3108608  PMID: 21687502
hyperforin; St. John's wort; prostaglandin E2; cyclooxygenase; inflammation
25.  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

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