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J Immunol. 1998 Nov 1;161(9):4652-60.

Stat3 activation is responsible for IL-6-dependent T cell proliferation through preventing apoptosis: generation and characterization of T cell-specific Stat3-deficient mice.

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Department of Biochemistry, Hyogo College of Medicine, Nishinomiya, Japan.


Stat3, a member of STAT, is activated by a variety of cytokines such as IL-6 family of cytokines, granulocyte CSF, epidermal growth factor, and leptin. A recent study with mice genetically deficient in the Stat3 gene has revealed its important role in the early embryogenesis. To assess the function of Stat3 in adult tissues, we disrupted the Stat3 gene specifically in T cells by conditional gene targeting using Cre-loxP system. In Stat3-deficient T cells, IL-6-induced proliferation was severely impaired. IL-6 did not enhance cell cycle progression, but prevented apoptosis of normal T cells. In contrast, IL-6 did not prevent apoptosis of Stat3-deficient T cells. Antiapoptotic protein, Bcl-2, was normally up-regulated in response to IL-6 even in Stat3-deficient T cells. These results demonstrate that Stat3 activation is involved in IL-6-dependent T cell proliferation through prevention of apoptosis independently of Bcl-2.

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