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Extracellular signal–regulated kinase 5 promotes acute cellular and systemic inflammation

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Science Signaling  25 Aug 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 391, pp. ra86
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aaa3206

Inflamed by ERK5

Because of their importance in stimulating the production of proinflammatory cytokines, some members of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) family have been targeted therapeutically to treat inflammatory diseases. However, clinical trials with such drugs have proved disappointing, spurring the search for other potential candidates. Wilhelmsen et al. found that another MAPK family member, extracellular signal–regulated kinase 5 (ERK5), promoted inflammatory responses to microbial stimuli in human endothelial and immune cells. Furthermore, inhibitors of ERK5 and its upstream activating kinase MEK5 reduced systemic inflammation in various mouse models of microbial infection and noninfectious tissue injury, raising the possibility that ERK5 might have therapeutic potential for the treatment of inflammatory disorders.

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