Send to

Choose Destination
Circ Res. 2009 Jan 30;104(2):236-44, 28p following 244. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.108.182014. Epub 2008 Dec 12.

Interleukin-6 overexpression induces pulmonary hypertension.

Author information

Division of Pulmonary Critical Care Medicine, University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center, Worcester, MA 01655, USA.


Inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-6 is elevated in the serum and lungs of patients with pulmonary artery hypertension (PAH). Several animal models of PAH cite the potential role of inflammatory mediators. We investigated role of IL-6 in the pathogenesis of pulmonary vascular disease. Indices of pulmonary vascular remodeling were measured in lung-specific IL-6-overexpressing transgenic mice (Tg(+)) and compared to wild-type (Tg(-)) controls in both normoxic and chronic hypoxic conditions. The Tg(+) mice exhibited elevated right ventricular systolic pressures and right ventricular hypertrophy with corresponding pulmonary vasculopathic changes, all of which were exacerbated by chronic hypoxia. IL-6 overexpression increased muscularization of the proximal arterial tree, and hypoxia enhanced this effect. It also reproduced the muscularization and proliferative arteriopathy seen in the distal arteriolar vessels of PAH patients. The latter was characterized by the formation of occlusive neointimal angioproliferative lesions that worsened with hypoxia and were composed of endothelial cells and T-lymphocytes. IL-6-induced arteriopathic changes were accompanied by activation of proangiogenic factor, vascular endothelial growth factor, the proproliferative kinase extracellular signal-regulated kinase, proproliferative transcription factors c-MYC and MAX, and the antiapoptotic proteins survivin and Bcl-2 and downregulation of the growth inhibitor transforming growth factor-beta and proapoptotic kinases JNK and p38. These findings suggest that IL-6 promotes the development and progression of pulmonary vascular remodeling and PAH through proproliferative antiapoptotic mechanisms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication type, MeSH terms, Substances, Grant support

Publication type

MeSH terms


Grant support

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center