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Atherosclerosis. 2001 Jun;156(2):315-20.

Involvement of interleukin-6 in atherosclerosis but not in the prevention of fatty streak formation by 17beta-estradiol in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice.

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INSERM U397, Institut L. Bugnard, 1 avenue Jean Poulhès, 31054, Cedex, Toulouse, France.


Interleukin-6 (IL-6) gene expressed in bone marrow-derived stromal cells and osteoblasts contributes to the state of mineralization and its control by estradiol may be involved in the development of post-menopausal osteoporosis. Since IL-6 is also expressed in the different cell populations of the arterial wall, the purpose of this study was to gain more insight into its involvement in the atherosclerotic process and the atheroprotective effect of estradiol by studying double deficient mice at the apolipoprotein E and IL-6 loci (IL-6(-/-)/E(-/-)). At 1 year of age, IL-6(-/-)/E(-/-) mice showed similar hypercholesterolemia to IL-6(+/+)/E(-/-) mice but presented significantly larger and more calcified lesions. In younger mice (sixteen weeks of age), no significant difference in fatty streaks could be detected in IL-6(+/+)/E(-/-), IL-6(+/-)/E(-/-) and IL-6(-/-)/E(-/-) mice on a normal chow diet. Estrogen supplementation at this age induced a decrease of fatty streak formation in all three genotypes. The combined data indicate that IL-6 expression is involved at the fibrous plaque stage of the atherosclerotic process but does not constitute a direct target for estradiol to prevent fatty streak formation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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