The aim of the present pilot study was to relate the activity of MAPK p38 with the levels of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in a small cohort of patients with either stable angina (N=5) or intermittent claudication (N=5) compared to healthy controls (N=10).
The activity of MAPK p38 was determined in peripheral blood mononuclear cells, isolated from whole blood by western blot using phospho-specific anti-MAPK p38 antibodies. Cytokine levels of 11 pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines were determined from the serum using flow cytometry.
We found a significant elevation of the MAPK p38 activity in the intermittent claudication group (P=0.0027) compared with the healthy control group whereas the stable angina group showed similar MAPK p38 activity as the healthy control group. The IL-10 level in serum found in the stable angina group was significantly higher compared with both the healthy control group (P=0.0116) and the intermittent claudication group (P=0.0317).
Our results imply that there is a casual relationship between increased levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-10 and IL-4 and the activity of the MAPK p38. Possibly has IL-10 a protective role that down-regulates the activity of MAPK p38 and thereby further inflammatory processes in stable angina patients.