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Brain. 2005 Jul;128(Pt 7):1634-41. Epub 2005 Apr 7.

Fast modulation of heat-activated ionic current by proinflammatory interleukin 6 in rat sensory neurons.

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  • 1Institut für Physiologie und Experimentelle Pathophysiologie, Friedrich-Alexander Universität, Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany.


The pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) together with its soluble receptor (sIL-6R) induces and maintains thermal hyperalgesia. It facilitates the heat-induced release of calcitonin gene-related peptide from rat cutaneous nociceptors in vivo and in vitro. Here we report that exposure of nociceptive neurons to the IL-6-sIL-6R complex or the gp130-stimulating designer IL-6-sIL-6R fusion protein Hyper-IL-6 (HIL-6) resulted in a potentiation of heat-activated inward currents (I(heat)) and a shift of activation thresholds towards lower temperatures without affecting intracellular calcium levels. The Janus tyrosine kinase inhibitor AG490, the selective protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitor, bisindolylmaleimide 1 (BIM1), as well as rottlerin, a selective blocker of the PKCdelta isoform, but not the cyclooxygenase inhibitor indomethacin, effectively reduced the effect. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and in situ hybridization revealed expression of mRNA for the signal-transducing beta subunit of the receptor gp130 in neuronal somata, rather than satellite cells in rat dorsal root ganglia. Together, the results suggest that IL-6-sIL-6R acts directly on sensory neurons. It increases their susceptibility to noxious heat via the gp130/Jak/PKCdelta signalling pathway.

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