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

Expression of Interleukin-6 (IL-6) and IL-6 receptor mRNA in human bone samples from pre- and postmenopausal women.

Interleukin-6 (IL-6) has been attributed to induction of osteoclastogenic-precursor cell proliferation and maturation. Estrogens suppress IL-6 production in stromal/osteoblastic cells in vitro. Conversely, estrogen withdrawal is associated with increased IL-6 production. IL-6 is therefore thought to be an important mediator of the increased bone resorption after menopause. However, evidence supporting a rise in the expression of IL-6 or the IL-6 receptor in human bone tissue with menopause is still lacking. To address this question, we established a 5'-nuclease assay to quantitate the expression of human IL-6 and the gp80 subunit of the IL-6 receptor in human bone samples. The number of mRNA copies was normalized to the number of copies of beta actin mRNA. Osteocalcin expression served as an independent control. The study population consisted of 169 women (mean age 52.4 +/- 11.6 years) who underwent surgery for early breast cancer. Serum IL-6 was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, serum crosslaps as a marker of bone resorption were measured by electrochemiluminescent assay, and serum osteocalcin was measured by chemoluminescence assays. RNA expression of osteocalcin in bone tissue from early postmenopausal women was higher compared with premenopausal women. Local expression was positively associated with circulating osteocalcin and crosslaps concentrations. Postmenopausal women also had higher circulating IL-6 concentrations. In contrast, bone samples from postmenopausal women lacked an increased expression of either IL-6 or gp80 compared with bone samples from premenopausal women. In conclusion, we failed to detect local increases in IL-6 or IL-6 receptor expression in human bone tissue with menopause. If direct changes in the IL-6 system in bone tissue are involved in postmenopausal bone loss, these changes appear to be below the detection limit of our assay system.[1]


  1. Expression of Interleukin-6 (IL-6) and IL-6 receptor mRNA in human bone samples from pre- and postmenopausal women. Seck, T., Diel, I., Bismar, H., Ziegler, R., Pfeilschifter, J. Bone (2002) [Pubmed]
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