A proinflammatory role for glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK-3β) has been demonstrated. Here, we addressed its roles on heat-inactivated Staphylococcus aureus-induced microglial inflammation. Heat-inactivated S. aureus induced tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and nitric oxide (NO) production, at least in part, via a Toll-like receptor 2-regulated pathway. Neutralization of TNF-α largely blocked heat-inactivated S. aureus-induced NO. Heat-inactivated S. aureus activated GSK-3β, and inhibiting GSK-3β reduced TNF-α production as well as inducible NO synthase (iNOS)/NO biosynthesis. While activation of NF-κB was essential for heat-inactivated S. aureus-induced TNF-α and NO, inhibiting GSK-3β blocked heat-inactivated S. aureus-induced NF-κB p65 nuclear translocation. Additionally, inhibiting GSK-3β enhanced heat-inactivated S. aureus-induced interleukin-10 (IL-10) production (IL-10 is an anti-inflammatory cytokine which inhibits TNF-α production). Neutralization of IL-10 reduced TNF-α downregulation caused by GSK-3β inhibition. These results suggest that GSK-3β regulates heat-inactivated S. aureus-induced TNF-α and NO production in microglia mainly by activating NF-κB and probably by inhibiting IL-10.
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