Hyperoxia synergistically increases TNF-alpha-induced interleukin-8 gene expression in A549 cells.
Interleukin (IL)-8 is an important mediator of acute lung injury. Hyperoxia induces IL-8 production in some cell types, but its effect on IL-8 gene expression in respiratory epithelium is not well described. In addition, IL-8 gene expression resulting from the combined effects of hyperoxia and proinflammatory cytokines has not been well characterized. We treated cultured respiratory epithelial-like cells (A549 cells) with hyperoxia alone, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha alone, or the combination of TNF-alpha and hyperoxia and evaluated IL-8 gene expression. Hyperoxia alone had a minimal effect on IL-8 gene expression, and TNF-alpha alone increased IL-8 gene expression in a time-dependent manner. In contrast, the combination of TNF-alpha and hyperoxia synergistically increased IL-8 gene expression as measured by ELISA (TNF-alpha alone for 24 h = 769 +/- 89 pg/ml vs. hyperoxia + TNF-alpha for 24 h = 1, 189 +/- 89 pg/ml) and Northern blot analyses. Experiments involving IL-8 promoter-reporter assays, electromobility shift assays, and Western blot analyses demonstrated that hyperoxia augmented TNF-alpha-mediated activation of the IL-8 promoter by a nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB-dependent mechanism and increased the duration of NF-kappaB nuclear translocation after concomitant treatment with TNF-alpha. Additional reporter gene assays demonstrated, however, that increased activation of NF-kappaB does not fully account for the synergistic effect of hyperoxia and that the NF-IL-6 site in the IL-8 promoter is also required for the synergistic effect of hyperoxia. We conclude that hyperoxia alone has a minimal effect on IL-8 gene expression but synergistically increases IL-8 gene expression in the presence of TNF-alpha by a mechanism involving cooperative interaction between the transcription factors NF-kappaB and NF-IL-6.