Interleukin-6 promotes pulmonary emphysema associated with apoptosis in mice

Saleela Ruwanpura, Louise McLeod, Alistair Miller, Jessica Jones, Steven Bozinovski, Ross Vlahos, Matthias Ernst, Jane Armes, Philip Bardin, Gary Anderson, Brendan Jenkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The IL-6 cytokine family, which signals via the shared gp130 coreceptor, is linked with the pathogenesis of emphysema. However, the definitive mechanisms by which these cytokines cause emphysema remain ill-defined. We took an in vivo genetic complementation approach to identify the specific IL-6 cytokine family members and gp130-regulated cellular processes that cause emphysema. We used gp130(F/F) mice homozygous for a subtle knock-in mutation in gp130 that deregulates intracellular signaling by the IL-6 cytokine family. The gp130(F/F) mice spontaneously develop emphysema by age 6 months. Within the IL-6 cytokine family, only IL-6 was significantly up-regulated in the lungs of gp130(F/F) mice, and the genetic targeting of IL-6 in gp130(F/F) mice (gp130(F/F):IL-6(-/-)) prevented emphysema. By contrast, the genetic ablation of receptor signaling via IL-11, which like IL-6 signals via a gp130 homodimer and uses the same signaling machinery, failed to ameliorate emphysema in gp130(F/F) mice. Among the disease-associated processes examined, emphysema strongly correlated with elevated alveolar cell apoptosis. Acute (4-day) exposure to cigarette smoke (CS) further augmented the expression of IL-6 in lungs of gp130(F/F) mice, and subchronic (6-week) exposure to CS exacerbated emphysematous and apoptotic changes in the lungs of gp130(F/F) but not gp130(F/F): IL-6(-/-) mice. IL-6 is the main causative agent of IL-6 cytokine family-induced emphysema, and operates to induce apoptosis in the lung. We propose that the discrete targeting of IL-6 signaling may provide an effective therapeutic strategy against human lung disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)720 - 730
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology
Volume45
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Cite this