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J Neuroimmunol. 2003 Jun;139(1-2):51-7.

Interleukin-6, beta-amyloid peptide and NMDA interactions in rat cortical neurons.

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  • 1Department of Neuropharmacology, CVN11, The Scripps Research Institute, 10666 N. Torrey Pine Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Neuronal damage in Alzheimer's disease (AD) is thought to involve direct toxicity of beta-amyloid peptide (Abeta) and excitotoxicity involving NMDA receptors (NMDARs) and altered Ca(2+) dynamics. Inflammation agents produced by microglia or astrocytes and associated with senile plaques such as the cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) could also contribute. To investigate this possibility, neuronal damage (lactate dehydrogenase assay, LDH, assay) was measured in cultures of rodent cortical neurons chronically treated with IL-6, Abeta or Abeta plus IL-6 and acutely treated with NMDA. Both Abeta and NMDA produced neuronal damage and this effect was larger with combined treatment. IL-6 did not produce significant neuronal damage but the largest neuronal damage was observed in cultures exposed to all three factors. IL-6 and Abeta enhanced Ca(2+) responses to NMDA and combined treatment produced the largest effect. These results are consistent with a role for interactions between Abeta, NMDA and IL-6 in the neuronal loss in AD.

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