Effects of rottlerin on silica-exacerbated systemic autoimmune disease in New Zealand mixed mice

Jared M. Brown, Corbin M. Schwanke, Mark A. Pershouse, Jean C. Pfau, Andrij Holian

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Environmental crystalline silica exposure has been associated with formation of autoantibodies and development of systemic autoimmune disease, but the mechanisms leading to these events are unknown. Silica exposure in autoimmune-prone New Zealand mixed (NZM) mice results in a significant exacerbation of systemic autoimmunity as measured by increases in autoantibodies and glomerulonephritis. Previous studies have suggested that silica-induced apoptosis of alveolar macrophages (AM) contributes to the generation of the autoantibodies and disease. Rottlerin has been reported to inhibit apoptosis in many cell types, possibly through direct or indirect effects on PKCδ. In this study, rottlerin reduced silica-induced apoptosis in bone marrow-derived macrophages as measured by DNA fragmentation. In NZM mice, RNA and protein levels of PKCδ were significantly elevated in AM 14 wk after silica exposure. Therefore, rottlerin was used to reduce apoptosis of AM and evaluate the progress of silica-exacerbated systemic autoimmune disease. Fourteen weeks after silica exposure, NZM mice had increased levels of anti-histone autoantibodies, high proteinuria, and glomerulonephritis. However, silica-instilled mice that also received weekly instillations of rottlerin had significantly lower levels of proteinuria, anti-histone autoantibodies, complement C3, and IgG deposition within the kidney. Weekly instillations of rottlerin in silica-instilled NZM mice also inhibited the upregulation of PKCδ in AM. Together, these data demonstrate that in vivo treatment with rottlerin significantly decreased the exacerbation of autoimmunity by silica exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L990-L998
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number6 33-6
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Alveolar macrophage
  • Apoptosis
  • Protein kinase Cδ


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