Ni(II) activates the Nrf2 signaling pathway in human monocytic cells

Jill B. Lewis, Regina L. Messer, Veronica V. McCloud, Petra E. Lockwood, Stephen D. Hsu, John C. Wataha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Nickel is a component of biomedical alloys that is released during corrosion and causes inflammation in tissues by as yet unknown mechanisms. Recent data show that Ni(II) at concentrations of 10-50 μm amplifies lipopolysaccharide-triggered, NFκB-mediated cytokine secretion from monocytes. In the current study, we tested the hypothesis that Ni(II) amplifies cytokine secretion by activating the Nrf2 antioxidant pathway rather than by enhancing activity of the NFκB signaling pathway. Human THP1 monocytes were exposed to Ni(II) concentrations of 10-30 μm for 6-72 h, then immunoblots of whole-cell lysates or cytosolic and nuclear proteins were used to detect changes in Nrf2 or NFκB signaling. Our results show that Ni(II) increased (by 1-2 fold) whole-cell Nrf2 levels and nuclear translocation of Nrf2, and amplified lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induction of Nrf2 (by 3-5 fold), but had no detectable effect on the initial activation or nuclear translocation of NFκB. Because Nrf2 target gene products are known regulators of NFκB nuclear activity, our results suggest that Ni(II) may affect cytokine secretion indirectly via modulation of the Nrf2 pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5348-5356
Number of pages9
Issue number31
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Biocompatibility
  • Dental alloy
  • Inflammation
  • Monocyte
  • Nickel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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