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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Cutting Edge: IL-6-Driven Immune Dysregulation Is Strictly Dependent on IL-6R α-Chain Expression.

  • Author(s): Mufazalov, Ilgiz A
  • Andruszewski, David
  • Schelmbauer, Carsten
  • Heink, Sylvia
  • Blanfeld, Michaela
  • Masri, Joumana
  • Tang, Yilang
  • Schüler, Rebecca
  • Eich, Christina
  • Wunderlich, F Thomas
  • Karbach, Susanne H
  • Bluestone, Jeffrey A
  • Korn, Thomas
  • Waisman, Ari
  • et al.

IL-6 binds to the IL-6R α-chain (IL-6Rα) and signals via the signal transducer gp130. Recently, IL-6 was found to also bind to the cell surface glycoprotein CD5, which would then engage gp130 in the absence of IL-6Rα. However, the biological relevance of this alternative pathway is under debate. In this study, we developed a mouse model, in which murine IL-6 is overexpressed in a CD11c-Cre-dependent manner. Transgenic mice developed a lethal immune dysregulation syndrome with increased numbers of Ly-6G+ neutrophils and Ly-6Chi monocytes/macrophages. IL-6 overexpression promoted activation of CD4+ T cells while suppressing CD5+ B-1a cell development. However, additional ablation of IL-6Rα protected IL-6-overexpressing mice from IL-6-triggered inflammation and fully phenocopied IL-6Rα-deficient mice without IL-6 overexpression. Mechanistically, IL-6Rα deficiency completely prevented downstream activation of STAT3 in response to IL-6. Altogether, our data clarify that IL-6Rα is the only biologically relevant receptor for IL-6 in mice.

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