P38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Inhibition Reduces Inflammatory Cytokines in a Brain-Dead Transplant Donor Animal Model

Takahiro Oto, Alicia Calderone, Zhihe Li, Franklin L. Rosenfeldt, Salvatore Pepe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to determine the degree of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38 MAPK) activation in rat heart and lungs after experimentally induced brain death and to test whether SD-282, a synthetic and selective small molecule inhibitor of p38 MAPK, abrogates p38 MAPK activation invoked by this brain death model. Methods: Adult male Sprague Dawley rats were treated with vehicle (control, n= 7) or SD-282 (40. mg/kg, n= 6), for 15. min prior to the induction of brain death and maintained with ventilatory support for 3. h. IL-6 and TNFα were measured in plasma, heart and lungs using ELISA, and p38 MAPK via Western blot assay. Results: p38 MAPK inhibition was demonstrated by lower p38 MAPK activity in lungs from SD-282-treated donors compared to control (Median [inter-quartile range]: 13.6[4.0-19.0]% vs 20.2[14.7-31.5]% activity, p= 0.06). Although levels varied, significant inhibition of p38 MAPK by SD-282 was not observed in the heart. SD-282 significantly lowered IL-6 and TNFα values compared to control in plasma (64[51-81]. pg/ml vs 352[200-755]. pg/ml, p= 0.003 and 4.3[1.5-9.0]. pg/ml vs 21.1[10.5-31.5]. pg/ml, p= 0.015, respectively) and lungs (0.14[0.12-0.62] vs 5.8[3.6-6.0]. pg/mg protein, p= 0.03 and 0.41[0.33-0.45] vs 2.1[1.4-2.7]. pg/mg protein, p= 0.0027, respectively), however SD-282 did not significantly affect cardiac cytokine levels. Conclusions: p38 MAPK inhibition with SD-282 decreases the pro-inflammatory response as represented by lower IL-6 and TNFα in plasma and lungs following brain death. However, although in heart this response was variable, no significant effect could be demonstrated under the present conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-400
Number of pages8
JournalHeart Lung and Circulation
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain death
  • Donor heart
  • Donor lungs
  • IL-6
  • P38 Mitogen-activated protein kinase
  • TNFα

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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