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J Immunol. 1989 Feb 1;142(3):808-12.

IL-6 modulates the synthesis of a specific set of acute phase plasma proteins in vivo.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Roswell Park Memorial Institute, Buffalo, NY 14263.


Human rIL-6, produced either in COS cells or Escherichia coli, similarly stimulates the production of acute phase plasma proteins in cultured human and rat hepatoma cells. This anabolic effect in hepatoma cells suggested a potential in vivo role of the cytokine in mediating the hepatic response to inflammation. Injection of IL-6 into adult male rats elicited a cytokine-specific change in the liver expression of acute phase proteins. As predicted from in vitro studies, glucocorticoids were needed to achieve a maximal IL-6 response in vivo. Optimal conditions were found to be two i.p. injections of 35 to 120 micrograms IL-6 and 65 micrograms dexamethasone per kg body weight administered at 12-h intervals. Within 24 h, the plasma concentrations for alpha 2-macroglobulin, fibrinogen, thiostatin, and hemopexin were increased to levels approximating those observed in acute phase animals. These results support the notion that direct interaction of IL-6 with the liver is an essential part in initiating the hepatic acute phase reaction.

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