Evidence is beginning to accumulate that p38 mitogen activated protein kinase (p38 MAPK) signaling pathway plays an important role in the regulation of cellular and humoral autoimmune responses. The exact mechanisms and the degree by which the p38 MAPK pathway participates in the immune-mediated induction of diseases have started to emerge. This review discusses the recent advances in the molecular dissection of the p38 MAPK pathway and the findings generated by reports investigating its role in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and autoimmune hepatitis. Application of newly-developed protocols based on sensitive flow cytometric detection has proven to be a useful tool in the investigation of the phosphorylation of p38 MAPK within different peripheral blood mononuclear cell populations and may help us to better understand the enigmatic role of this signaling cascade in the induction of autoimmunity as well as its role in immunosuppressive-induced remission. Special attention is paid to reported data proposing a specific role for autoantibody-induced activation of p38 MAPK-mediated immunopathology in the pathogenesis of autoimmune blistering diseases and anti-neutrophilic antibody-mediated vasculitides.
- Autoimmune disease
- Inflammation immunity