Mechanism of dexamethasone-mediated interleukin-8 gene suppression in cultured airway epithelial cells

Mary Mann Jong Chang, Maya Juarez, Dallas M. Hyde, Reen Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The effects of dexamethasone, a glucocorticoid analog, on interleukin 8 (IL-8) gene expression were studied in cultures of primary human tracheobronchial epithelial cells and an immortalized human bronchial epithelial cell line, HBE1 cells. Dexamethasone inhibited IL-8 mRNA and protein expression in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. The inhibition did not occur at the transcriptional level since both nuclear run-on activity and IL-8 promoter-reporter gene expression assay revealed no significant effect. Instead, there was a change in IL-8 mRNA stability in dexamethasone-treated cultures. Under actinomycin D treatment, IL-8 mRNA was quite stable in dexamethasone-depleted cultures, while in dexamethasone-pretreated cultures, IL-8 message was rapidly degraded within the first hour, then leveled off. When dexamethasone and actinomycin D were added simultaneously to dexamethasone-depleted cultures, IL-8 mRNA remained rather stable. When cycloheximide was used to inhibit new protein synthesis, dexamethasone-dependent inhibition was not observed. These results suggest that a posttranscriptional mechanism, which requires dexamethasone-dependent new protein synthesis, is involved in the regulation of IL-8 mRNA by dexamethasone in airway epithelial cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number1 24-1
StatePublished - Jan 2001


  • mRNA stability
  • Posttranscriptional regulation
  • Transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cell Biology
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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