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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The expression of interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-6 receptor, and gp130-kilodalton glycoprotein in the rat decidua and a decidual cell line: regulation by 17beta-estradiol and prolactin.

The cytokine interleukin 6 (IL-6), a major mediator of immune and acute phase responses of the liver, has been implicated in the termination of pregnancy once expressed in the uterus. This study was undertaken to investigate the expression and regulation of genes encoding IL-6 and IL-6 receptor (IL-6R) in rat decidual tissue. Total RNA obtained from rat decidual tissue on different days of pseudopregnancy was analyzed by RT-PCR using specific primers for IL-6, IL-6R, and 130-kDa glycoprotein (gp130). Ribosomal L19 primers served as an internal control. IL-6R and gp130 were found to be expressed in the decidua throughout development, while no messenger RNA (mRNA) for IL-6 was detected. Interestingly, within several hours of culture, decidual explants acquired the ability to express IL-6. The apparent ability of decidual cells to express IL-6 and its lack of expression in vivo led us to examine whether the IL-6 gene is actively inhibited. Primary decidual cells were cultured in the presence of estradiol, progesterone, or PRL. Progesterone showed no effect, whereas estradiol and PRL reduced the level of IL-6 mRNA expression. To examine the mechanism by which these hormones inhibit IL-6 expression, we used a simian virus 40-transformed decidual cell line (GG-AD), which expresses only estrogen receptor-beta (ERbeta). Like primary decidual cells in culture, GG-AD cells express IL-6, IL-6R, and gp130 mRNA. When cultured in the presence of estradiol (0-100 ng/ml), mRNA for IL-6 and its receptor components were down-regulated in a dose-dependent manner. Estradiol also caused a dose-dependent decrease in IL-6 protein secretion into the culture medium. The inhibitory effect of estradiol on IL-6 mRNA expression was reversed by the antiestrogen ICI-164,384. Similar inhibition of IL-6 and gp130 mRNA expression was observed with PRL treatment. However, PRL had no effect on IL-6R mRNA levels. PRL inhibition of IL-6 expression was totally reversed by tyrphostin AG490, a JAK2 inhibitor. In summary, the results of this investigation indicate that IL-6 expression, which is detrimental to the maintenance of pregnancy, is inhibited in the rat decidual tissue. This inhibition is induced by PRL and estradiol, which down-regulate not only IL-6 expression, but also the expression of IL-6 receptor and signaling proteins. The results also suggest that PRL signaling to the IL-6 gene is mediated through the long form of PRL receptor and involves JAK2 activation, whereas that of estradiol can be transduced by estrogen receptor-beta.[1]


  1. The expression of interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-6 receptor, and gp130-kilodalton glycoprotein in the rat decidua and a decidual cell line: regulation by 17beta-estradiol and prolactin. Deb, S., Tessier, C., Prigent-Tessier, A., Barkai, U., Ferguson-Gottschall, S., Srivastava, R.K., Faliszek, J., Gibori, G. Endocrinology (1999) [Pubmed]
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