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Cytokine. 2010 Jan;49(1):73-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2009.08.009. Epub 2009 Oct 12.

Oxidative mechanisms of IL-4-induced IL-6 expression in vascular endothelium.

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Laboratory of Vascular Biology, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA.


The present study is designed to investigate the effects of interleukin-4 (IL-4) on expression of interleukin-6 (IL-6), as well as to examine the role of distinct sources of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in this process. Real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) showed that IL-4 significantly up-regulated the mRNA and protein expression of IL-6 in human aortic endothelial cells (HAEC) and C57BL/6 mice. Dihydroethidium (DHE) and dichlorofluorescein (DCF) fluorescence staining demonstrated that IL-4 significantly increased ROS generation in HAEC. A significant and dose-dependent inhibition of IL-4-induced IL-6 expression was observed in HAEC pre-treated with antioxidants, such as pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC) and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), indicating that IL-4-induced IL-6 expression is mediated via an ROS-dependent mechanism. Additionally, pharmacological inhibitor of NADPH oxidase (NOX) significantly attenuated IL-4-induced ROS generation and IL-6 expression in HAEC. Furthermore, the disruption of NOX gene dramatically and significantly reduced IL-4-induced IL-6 expression in NOX knockout mice (B6.129S6-Cybb(tm1Din)/J). In contrast, overexpression of IL-6 in IL-4-activated HAEC was not affected by inhibiting other ROS generating pathways, such as xanthine oxidase, arachidonic acid metabolism, and the mitochondrial electron transport chain. These results demonstrate that IL-4 up-regulates IL-6 expression in vascular endothelium through NOX-mediated ROS generation.

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