The MEK1/2-ERK1/2 pathway is activated in chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps

Robert Linke, Ralph Pries, Michael Könnecke, Karl Ludwig Bruchhage, Robert Böscke, Maximilian Gebhard, Barbara Wollenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps (CRSwNP) is a common disease that has a considerable impact on the quality of life. Alterations in signalling pathways may contribute to the ongoing inflammation and proliferation in CRSwNP. The MEK1/2-ERK1/2 pathway transmits signals from many extracellular molecules to regulate cellular processes. We examined tissue samples from nasal polyps and the inferior turbinate of patients with CRSwNP and the inferior turbinate from subjects with healthy mucosa. The expressions of MEK1/ 2, ERK1/2, and their active phosphorylated forms pMEK1/2 and pERK1/2 were analysed using DNA microarray, quantitative real-time PCR, protein array, Western hybridisation, and immunohistochemistry. We detected increased MEK1/2 protein expression in nasal polyps compared to the inferior turbinates of patients with CRSwNP or healthy mucosa. We also found a higher amount of MEK1/2 in the inferior turbinates of patients with CRSwNP compared to those with healthy mucosa. Most importantly, we observed a significant increase in the phosphorylation of MEK1/2 and ERK1/2 in nasal polyps compared to both types of controls. We observed activation of the MEK1/2-ERK1/2 pathway in nasal polyps. Interestingly, we did not see the same activation pattern in different tiers of the MEK1/2-ERK1/2 signalling cascade. One explanation for this result is that the components enhance the complex MEK-ERK cascade in a distinct manner, enabling a wide variety of functions. The MEK1/2-ERK1/2 pathway appears to play a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of CRSwNP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-229
Number of pages13
JournalArchivum Immunologiae et Therapiae Experimentalis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Chronic rhinosinusitis
  • ERK1/2
  • MEK1/2
  • Nasal polyp
  • Phosphokinase


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