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J Neurosci Res. 2009 Sep;87(12):2757-62. doi: 10.1002/jnr.22107.

Interleukin-6 increases intracellular Ca2+ concentration and induces catecholamine secretion in rat carotid body glomus cells.

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  • 1Institute of Neurosciences, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, Shaanxi, China.


Although abundant evidence indicates mutual regulation between the immune and the central nervous systems, how the immune signals are transmitted to the brain is still an unresolved question. In a previous study we found strong expression of proinflammatory cytokine receptors, including interleukin (IL)-1 receptor I and IL-6 receptor alpha in the rat carotid body (CB), a well-known arterial chemoreceptor that senses a variety of chemostimuli in the arterial blood. We demonstrated that IL-1 stimulation increases intracellular calcium ([Ca(2+)](i)) in CB glomus cells, releases ATP, and increases the discharge rate in carotid sinus nerve. To explore the effect of IL-6 on CB, here we examine the effect of IL-6 on [Ca(2+)](i) and catecholamine (CA) secretion in rat CB glomus cells. Calcium imaging showed that extracellular application of IL-6 induced a rise in [Ca(2+)](i) in cultured glomus cells. Amperometry showed that local application of IL-6 evoked CA release from glomus cells. Furthermore, the CA secretory response to IL-6 was blocked by 200 microM Cd(2+), a well-known Ca(2+) channel blocker. Our experiments provide further evidence for the responsiveness of the CB to proinflammatory cytokines and indicate that the CB might play a role in inflammation sensing and transmission of such information to the brain.

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