Among matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), MMP-9 has been observed in patients with brain inflammatory diseases and may contribute to the pathology of brain diseases. Thrombin has been known as a regulator of MMP-9 expression and cells migration. However, the mechanisms underlying thrombin-induced MMP-9 expression in rat brain astrocytes (RBA-1 cells) were not completely understood. Here, we demonstrated that thrombin induced the expression of pro-form MMP-9 in RBA-1 cells and cells migration which were attenuated by pretreatment with the inhibitor of receptor tyrosine kinase (Genistein), c-Src (PP1), Jak2 (AG490), PDGFR (AG1296), PI3K (LY294002), Akt (SH-5), PKCs (Ro318220), PKCδ (Rottlerin), or NF-κB (Bay11-7082) and transfection with siRNA of c-Src, PDGFR, Akt, PKCδ, ATF2, p65, IKKα, or IKKβ. In addition, thrombin-stimulated c-Src, Jak2, or PDGFR phosphorylation was inhibited by a thrombin inhibitor (PPACK), PP1, AG490, or AG1296. Thrombin further stimulated c-Src and PDGFR complex formation in RBA-1 cells. Thrombin also stimulated Akt and PKCδ phosphorylation and PKCδ translocation which were reduced by PPACK, PP1, AG490, AG1296, or LY294002. We further observed that thrombin markedly stimulated ATF2 or IκBα phosphorylation and NF-κB p65 translocation which were inhibited by Rottlerin or LY294002. Finally, thrombin stimulated in vivo binding of p65 to the MMP-9 promoter, which was reduced by pretreatment with Rottlerin or LY294002. These results concluded that in RBA-1 cells, thrombin activated a c-Src/Jak2/PDGFR/PI3K/Akt/PKCδ pathway, which in turn triggered ATF2 and NF-κB activation and ultimately induced MMP-9 expression associated with cell migration.
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