Inhibitors of GSK-3 prevent corticosterone from inducing COX-1 expression in cardiomyocytes

Haipeng Sun, Qin M. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Our recent study has demonstrated that glucocorticoids (GCs) induce cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) gene expression in rat cardiomyocytes. While investigating the mechanism underlying corticosterone (CT) induced COX-1, we found that three structurally and mechanistically distinct GSK-3 inhibitors, LiCl, SB216763, and (2′Z,3′E)-6-Bromoindirubin-3′-oxime (BIO), inhibited COX-1 transcription and protein induction. A genetic approach of expressing wild type GSK-3β increased COX-1 promoter activity, which was abolished by LiCl. LiCl increased inhibitory GSK-3α/β phosphorylation at Ser21/Ser9, while BIO or SB216763 prevented stimulatory phosphorylation at Tyr279/Tyr216 of GSK-3α/β. GSK inhibitors failed to block nuclear translocation of glucocorticoid receptor (GR) or activation of glucocorticoid response element (GRE) by CT treatment. While Sp3 transcription factor mediates CT induced COX-1 expression, GSK inhibitors did not change the level of Sp3 protein or binding of Sp3 transcription factor to COX-1 promoter. The observed effect of GSK-3 inhibitors appears to be unique to COX-1 since LiCl or BIO does not prevent CT from inducing COX-2 gene. We conclude that GSK-3 inhibitors block CT from inducing COX-1 gene expression via a mechanism beyond GR and Sp3 transcription factor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-100
Number of pages8
JournalCardiovascular toxicology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Corticosteroids
  • Cyclooxygenase
  • Glycogen synthase kinases
  • Pharmacological inhibitors
  • Transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Toxicology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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