p38 MAPK-dependent eNOS upregulation is critical for 17β-estradiol- mediated cardioprotection following trauma-hemorrhage

Wen Hong Kan, Jun Te Hsu, Zheng Feng Ba, Martin G. Schwacha, Jianguo Chen, Mashkoor A. Choudhry, Kirby I. Bland, Irshad H. Chaudry

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

44 Scopus citations


Studies have shown that p38 MAPK and nitric oxide (NO), generated by endothelial NO synthase (eNOS), play key roles under physiological and pathophysiological conditions. Although administration of 17β-estradiol (E2) protects cardiovascular injury from trauma-hemorrhage, the mechanism by which E2 produces those effects remains unknown. Our objective was to determine whether the E2-mediated activation of myocardial p38 MAPK and subsequent eNOS expression/phosphorylation would protect the heart following trauma-hemorrhage. To study this, male Sprague-Dawley rats underwent soft-tissue trauma (midline laparatomy) and hemorrhagic shock (mean blood pressure 35-40 mmHg for 90 min), followed by fluid resuscitation. Animals were pretreated with specific p38 MAPK inhibitor SB-203580 (SB; 2 mg/kg), and nonselective NO synthase inhibitor NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME; 30 mg/kg) 30 min before vehicle (cyclodextrin) or E2 (100 μg/kg) treatment, followed by resuscitation, and were killed 2 h thereafter. Cardiovascular performance and other parameters were measured. E2 administration following trauma-hemorrhage increased cardiac p38 MAPK activity, eNOS expression and phosphorylation at Ser1177, and nitrate/nitrite levels in plasma and heart tissues; these were associated with normalized cardiac performance, which was reversed by SB administration. In addition, E2 also prevented trauma-hemorrhage-induced increase in cytokines (IL-6 and TNF-α), chemokines (macrophage inflammatory protein-2 and cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant-1), and ICAM-1, which was reversed by L-NAME administration. Administration of E2 following trauma-hemorrhage attenuated cardiac tissue injury markers, myeloperoxidase activity, and nitrotyrosine level, which were reversed by treatment with SB and L-NAME. The salutary effects of E2 on cardiac functions and tissue protection following trauma-hemorrhage are mediated, in part, through activation of p38 MAPK and subsequent eNOS expression and phosphorylation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H2627-H2636
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 06 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemokine
  • Cytokine
  • Myeloperoxidase
  • Nitric oxide synthase


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