Activation of activator protein (AP-1) by crocidolite asbestos was examined in vitro in a JB6 P+ cell line stably transfected with AP-1-luciferase reporter plasmid and in vivo using AP-1-luciferase reporter transgenic mice. In in vitro studies, crocidolite asbestos caused a dose- and time-dependent induction of AP-1 activation in cultured JB6 cells. The elevated AP-1 activity persisted for at least 48 h. Crocidolite asbestos also induced AP-1 transactivation in the pulmonary and bronchial tissues of transgenic mice. AP-1 activation was observed at 2 days after intratracheal instillation of the mice with asbestos. At 3 days postexposure, AP-1 activation was elevated 10-fold in the lung tissue and 22-fold in bronchiolar tissue as compared with their controls. The induction of AP-1 activity by asbestos appeared to be mediated through the activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase family members, including extracellular signal-regulating protein kinase, Erk1 and Erk2. Aspirin inhibited asbestos-induced AP-1 activity in JB6 cells. Pretreatment of the mice with aspirin also inhibited asbestos-induced AP-1 activation in bronchiolar tissue. The data suggest that further investigation of the role of AP-1 activation in asbestos-induced cell proliferation and carcinogenesis is warranted. In addition, investigation of the potential therapeutic benefits of aspirin in the prevention/amelioration of asbestos-induced cancer is justified.
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