Mucus hypersecretion relates to exacerbations of bronchial asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) caused by rhinovirus (RV) infection. We examined the mechanisms of RV infection-induced mucin production in human tracheal surface epithelial cells and submucosal gland cells. RV14 up-regulated the mRNA expression of MUC2, MUC3, MUC5AC, MUC5B and MUC6, and increased MUC5AC and total mucin concentration in supernatants and lysates of the surface cells. An inhibitor of the nuclear factor κB caffeic acid phenylethyl ester, inhibitors of selective p44/42 mitogen-activated protein kinase-kinase PD98059 and U0126, and a selective Src inhibitor PP1 attenuated MUC5AC mRNA expression, and secretion and production of MUC5AC and total mucin glycoprotein in the surface cells. In the gland cells, RV14 also increased mRNA expression of MUC2, MUC5AC, MUC5B and MUC7, and the inhibitors attenuated the secretion of total mucin glycoprotein. Src-related p44/42 mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway may be associated with RV-induced mucin hypersecretion in human airways.
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