Astrocyte-targeted expression of IL-6 protects the CNS against a focal brain injury

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Milena Penkowa, Mercedes Giralt, Natalia Lago, Jordi Camats, Javier Carrasco, Joaquin Hernández, Amalia Molinero, Iain L Campbell, Juan Hidalgo

The effect of CNS-targeted IL-6 gene expression has been thoroughly investigated in the otherwise nonperturbed brain but not following brain injury. Here we examined the impact of astrocyte-targeted IL-6 production in a traumatic brain injury (cryolesion) model using GFAP-IL6 transgenic mice. This study demonstrated that transgenic IL-6 production significantly increased wound healing following the cryolesion. Thus, at 20 days postlesion (dpl) the GFAP-IL6 mice showed almost complete wound healing compared to litter mate nontransgenic controls. It seems likely that a reduced inflammatory response in the long term could be responsible for this IL-6-related effect. Thus, while in the acute phase following cryolesion (1-6 dpl) the recruitment of macrophages and T lymphocytes was higher in GFAP-IL6 mice, at 10-20 dpl it was significantly reduced compared to controls. Reactive astrogliosis was also significantly increased up to but not including 20 dpl in the GFAP-IL6 mice. Oxidative stress as well as apoptotic cell death was significantly decreased throughout the time period studied in the GFAP-IL6 mice compared to controls. This could be linked to the altered inflammatory response as well as to the transgenic IL-6-induced increase of the antioxidant, neuroprotective proteins metallothionein-I + II. These results indicate that although in the brain the chronic astrocyte-targeted expression of IL-6 spontaneously induces an inflammatory response causing significant damage, during an acute neuropathological insult such as following traumatic injury, a clear neuroprotective role is evident.
Original languageEnglish
JournalExperimental Neurology
Volume181
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)130-148
Number of pages18
ISSN0014-4886
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003

    Research areas

  • The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences - Animals, Antioxidants, Apoptosis, Astrocytes, Brain Injuries, Central Nervous System, Cerebral Cortex, Disease Models, Gene Targeting, Gliosis, Interleukin-6, Lymphocytes, Macrophages, Transgenic, Oxidative Stress, Wound Healing

ID: 121592