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J Neurochem. 1998 Apr;70(4):1577-83.

Substance P and histamine induce interleukin-6 expression in human astrocytoma cells by a mechanism involving protein kinase C and nuclear factor-IL-6.

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Abteilung Psychiatrie, Universit├Ąt Freiburg, Germany.


Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a proinflammatory cytokine whose synthesis is induced by a variety of stimuli including interleukin-1 (IL-1), substance P (SP), and histamine. Because IL-6 has been implicated in the etiopathology of different human diseases including multiple myeloma, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome dementia complex, and Alzheimer's disease, its inhibition may be of therapeutic interest. A main demand on an effective inhibitor of IL-6 expression is that it inhibits IL-6 synthesis independently of the inducing stimulus. We therefore used human astrocytoma cells to search for signal transduction cascades and transcription factors whose inhibition suppresses IL-6 synthesis after stimulation with three different inductors, IL-1beta, SP, and histamine. Whereas the antioxidant pyrrolidinedithiocarbamate was only able to inhibit IL-1beta-induced IL-6 expression, inhibition of protein kinase C prevented IL-6 expression induced by all three substances. Promoter deletion analysis revealed that IL-1beta-induced IL-6 expression required the transcription factor nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB), whereas SP- and histamine-induced IL-6 synthesis was essentially controlled by NF-IL-6. These findings suggest that inhibition of protein kinase C or a combinatory inhibition of NF-IL-6 and NF-kappaB binding are strategies to effectively suppress IL-6 synthesis. They therefore provide the basis for the development of antiinflammatory drugs used to treat disorders in which IL-6 is pathogenically involved.

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