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Mol Cell Biochem. 2014 Mar;388(1-2):25-37. doi: 10.1007/s11010-013-1896-z. Epub 2013 Nov 16.

Interleukin-6 inhibition of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha expression is mediated by JAK2- and PI3K-induced STAT1/3 in HepG2 hepatocyte cells.

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School of Biological Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800, Penang, Malaysia,


Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is the major activator of the acute phase response (APR). One important regulator of IL-6-activated APR is peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARα). Currently, there is a growing interest in determining the role of PPARα in regulating APR; however, studies on the molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways implicated in mediating the effects of IL-6 on the expression of PPARα are limited. We previously revealed that IL-6 inhibits PPARα gene expression through CAAT/enhancer-binding protein transcription factors in hepatocytes. In this study, we determined that STAT1/3 was the direct downstream molecules that mediated the Janus kinase 2 (JAK2) and phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K)/AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathways in IL-6-induced repression of PPARα. Treatment of cells with pharmacological inhibitors of JAK2, PI3K, AKT, and mTOR attenuated the inhibitory effect of IL-6 on PPARα protein in a dose-dependent manner. These inhibitors also decreased the IL-6-induced repression of PPARα mRNA expression and promoter activity. Overexpression of STAT1 and STAT3 in HepG2 cells cotransfected with a reporter vector containing this PPARα promoter region revealed that both the expression plasmids inhibited the IL-6-induced repression of PPARα promoter activity. In the presence of inhibitors of JAK2 and mTOR (AG490 and rapamycin, respectively), IL-6-regulated protein expression and DNA binding of STAT1 and STAT3 were either completely or partially inhibited simultaneously, and the IL-6-induced repression of PPARα protein and mRNA was also inhibited. This study has unraveled novel pathways by which IL-6 inhibits PPARα gene transcription, involving the modulation of JAK2/STAT1-3 and PI3K/AKT/mTOR by inducing the binding of STAT1 and STAT3 to STAT-binding sites on the PPARα promoter. Together, these findings represent a new model of IL-6-induced suppression of PPARα expression by inducing STAT1 and STAT3 phosphorylation and subsequent down-regulation of PPARα mRNA expression.

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