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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 Feb;125(2):397-403.e10. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2009.10.072.

Evidence for altered activity of the IL-6 pathway in chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps.

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Division of Allergy-Immunology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.



IL-6 activates T(H)17 cells and regulates the response of B lymphocytes and regulatory T cells. The IL-6 receptor and the membrane protein, glycoprotein 130 (gp130), form an active signaling complex that signals through signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) and other signaling molecules. Both the IL-6 receptor (IL-6R) and gp130 can be found in soluble forms that regulate the pathway.


We measured IL-6 signaling components and IL-17 in chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) with nasal polyps (CRSwNP), CRS without nasal polyps (CRSsNP), and controls to assess the IL-6 pathway in CRS.


IL-6, soluble IL-6R, soluble gp130 (sgp130), and IL-17 were measured in sinus tissue extracts and in nasal lavage fluid by either cytokine bead array or ELISA. phosphoSTAT3 (p-STAT3) was determined by Western blot and by immunohistochemistry.


IL-6 protein was significantly (P < .001) increased in CRSwNP compared with CRSsNP and controls. Soluble IL-6R was also increased in nasal polyp compared with control tissue (P < .01). Despite elevated IL-6 and sIL-6R, IL-17A, E, and F were undetectable in the sinus tissue from most of the patients with CRS and controls. p-STAT3 levels were reduced in the polyp tissue, possibly indicating reduced activity of IL-6 in the tissue. sgp130 was elevated in CRSwNP compared with CRSsNP and controls.


p-STAT3 levels are decreased in CRSwNP despite increased levels of IL-6 and sIL-6R and are associated with the absence of an IL-17 response. This may be a response to elevated levels of sgp130, a known inhibitor of IL-6 signaling. These results indicate that IL-6 and its signaling pathway may be altered in CRSwNP.

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