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J Biomed Sci. 2004 Jul-Aug;11(4):517-27.

Interleukin-6 increases vascular endothelial growth factor and angiogenesis in gastric carcinoma.

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Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC.


Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a proinflammatory cytokine associated with the disease status of gastric carcinoma (GC). Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a potent tumor angiogenic factor in GC. In this study, we attempted to clarify whether IL-6 can regulate VEGF and angiogenesis in GC. GC samples from 54 surgical specimens were subjected to immunohistochemical examination of IL-6, VEGF, and tumor microvessels, and results showed that IL-6 was positively correlated with VEGF expression and tumor vasculature. We determined VEGF expression in four GC cell lines by ELISA, revealing that GC cells can produce significant amount of VEGF with increasing dose and duration of IL-6 stimulation. Next, a luciferase reporter gene assay was employed to determine the signaling pathway driving the VEGF promoter by IL-6, which showed that the JAK/STAT pathway is involved in the stimulation of VEGF gene expression. The effects of IL-6 on angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo were evaluated by HUVEC studies and the Matrigel plug assay, respectively. Results showed that IL-6 effectively promoted HUVEC proliferation and tube formation in vitro and Matrigel plug vascularization in vivo, primarily by inducing VEGF in GC. This study provides evidence that the multifunctional cytokine, IL-6, may induce VEGF expression which increases angiogenesis in gastric carcinogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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