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Diabetes. 2005 Jan;54(1):85-91.

Hyperglycemia induces monocytic release of interleukin-6 via induction of protein kinase c-{alpha} and -{beta}.

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Laboratory for Atherosclerosis and Metabolic Research, the University of California Davis Medical Center, 4635, II Ave., Res. 1 Bldg., Rm. 3000, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA.


Diabetes confers an increased propensity to atherosclerosis. Inflammation is pivotal in atherogenesis, and diabetes is a proinflammatory state. Interleukin (IL)-6, in addition to inducing the acute-phase response, contributes to insulin resistance. Monocytes from type 2 diabetic patients secrete increased IL-6. The aim of this study was to examine molecular mechanisms for increased IL-6 release from monocytes under hyperglycemia. Monocytic cells (THP-1) were cultured in the presence of 5.5 mmol/l (normal) or 15 mmol/l (high) glucose and mannitol. Secreted IL-6, intracellular IL-6, and IL-6 mRNA were significantly increased with hyperglycemia (P < 0.001). Incubation of cells with inhibitors of reactive oxygen species failed to affect high-glucose-induced IL-6 release. Pan-protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitors significantly decreased high-glucose-induced IL-6 release. A specific inhibitor of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK; SB 202190), but not the extracellular signal-regulated kinase inhibitor PD98059, significantly decreased high-glucose-induced IL-6 release. Furthermore, the PKC-alpha/beta2 inhibitor decreased p38MAPK and the resulting high-glucose-induced IL-6 release. Both antisense oligos to PKC-beta and -alpha as well as small interfering RNA (siRNA) to PKC-alpha and -beta resulted in significantly decreased high-glucose-induced IL-6 release. Nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) inhibitors significantly decreased IL-6 mRNA and protein. siRNA to PKC-beta and -alpha also significantly decreased NF-kappaB activity and IL-6 release. The combination was not additive to either siRNA alone, suggesting that they work through a common pathway. Thus, IL-6 release from monocytes under hyperglycemia appears to be mediated via upregulation of PKC, through p38MAPK and NF-kappaB, resulting in increased mRNA and protein for IL-6. Thus, inhibition of PKC-alpha and -beta can ameliorate the proinflammatory state of diabetes.

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