Pregnane X receptor (PXR) is a liver-enriched xenobiotic-responsive transcription factor. Although recent studies suggest that PXR shows anti-inflammatory effects by suppressing nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB), the detailed mechanism remains unclear. In this study, we aimed to elucidate this mechanism. Mice were treated intraperitoneally with the PXR agonist pregnenolone 16α-carbonitrile (PCN) and/or carbon tetrachloride (CCl4
). Liver injury was evaluated, and hepatic mRNA levels were determined via quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Reporter assays with wild-type and mutated mouse Cxcl2
promoter-containing reporter plasmids were conducted in 293T cells. Results showed that the hepatic expression of inflammation-related genes was upregulated in CCl4
-treated mice, and PCN treatment repressed the induced expression of chemokine-encoding Ccl2
among the genes investigated. Consistently, PCN treatment suppressed the increased plasma transaminase activity and neutrophil infiltration in the liver. In reporter assays, tumor necrosis factor-α-induced Cxcl2
expression was suppressed by PXR. Although an NF-κB inhibitor or the mutation of an NF-κB-binding motif partly reduced PXR-dependent suppression, the mutation of both NF-κB and activator protein 1 (AP-1) sites abolished it. Consistently, AP-1-dependent gene transcription was suppressed by PXR with a construct containing AP-1 binding motifs. In conclusion, the present results suggest that PXR exerts anti-inflammatory effects by suppressing both NF-κB- and AP-1-dependent chemokine expression in mouse liver.
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