Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disease characterized by chronic bacterial lung infection, most commonly sustained by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Upon infection, elevated concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines (i.e. IL-6 and IL1beta) and chemokines (i.e. IL-8 and GROgamma) are found in the bronchoalveolar fluid of CF patients. We report in this paper that: (a) IL-8, IL-6, IL-1beta, ICAM-1, and GRO-gamma genes are upregulated following infection of CF bronchial epithelial IB3-1 cells with P. aeruginosa; (b) Sp1 transcription factor activity is induced following infection of the cystic fibrosis IB3-1 and CuFi-1 cell lines; (c) inhibition of Sp1 activity using transcription factor decoy molecules leads to inhibition of the expression of IL-6 gene. From the theoretical point of view, our results demonstrate that Sp1 transcription factor activity is induced following infection of CF cells with P. aeruginosa, and that this effect is important in the activation of IL-6 gene transcription. From the practical point of view, our data sustain the potential use of decoy molecules targeting the transcription factor Sp1 to control a relevant molecule involved in the inflammatory process associated with the cystic fibrosis airway pathology.
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