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J Biol Chem. 2006 Oct 20;281(42):31369-79. Epub 2006 Aug 22.

Pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate inhibits interleukin-6 signaling through impaired STAT3 activation and association with transcriptional coactivators in hepatocytes.

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Diabetes Section, Laboratory of Clinical Investigation, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, Maryland 21224, USA.


Interleukin (IL)-6 is a proinflammatory cytokine that has been implicated in the expression of acute phase plasma proteins and hepatic insulin resistance through activation of the JAK/STAT3 pathway. Although previous studies have demonstrated that pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC) exerts protection against inflammatory responses, its role in the regulation of IL-6 receptor signaling remains unclear. Here we show that treatment of cultured HepG2 hepatoma cells with PDTC inhibits IL-6-stimulated tyrosine phosphorylation and subsequent nuclear translocation of STAT3 in a dose- and time-dependent fashion. No inhibition of JAK-1 activity was observed. To provide insight into PDTC signaling, we constructed a conditionally active STAT3 by fusing it with the ligand binding domain of the estrogen receptor (STAT3-ER). In the presence of 4-hydroxytamoxifen STAT3-ER was translocated in the nucleus of HepG2 cells in a phosphorylation-independent manner, and treatment with PDTC mitigated the response. Although STAT3 coprecipitated with heat-shock protein 90 (Hsp90) in control cells, coprecipitation of the two proteins was greatly reduced after PDTC treatment or after exposure to geldanamycin, an Hsp90 inhibitor. As a result there was a decrease in IL-6-induced association of STAT3 with the transcriptional coactivators FOXO1a and C/EBPbeta together with significant reduction in the expression of SOCS-3 protein and that of two major acute phase plasma proteins. Importantly, treatment of HepG2 cells and a primary culture of rat hepatocytes with PDTC restored insulin responsiveness that was abrogated by IL-6. These studies are consistent with the ability of PDTC to down-regulate IL-6-induced STAT3 activation by altering the stability of STAT3-Hsp90 complex.

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