IL-6 is a cytokine with a number of biological functions, including stimulation of immunoglobulin synthesis and proliferation of early hematopoietic stem cells. We showed that lymphotoxin stimulated accumulation of IL-6 mRNA in human fibroblasts (W138) in a dose-responsive fashion; tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) was about threefold more potent than lymphotoxin. Further experiments suggested that stimulation by lymphotoxin was independent of protein kinase C activity, did not require new protein synthesis, and was at least in part a result of increased stabilization of IL-6 mRNA. t1/2 of the IL-6 transcripts increased from 0.3 h in unstimulated cells to 0.85 h in cells stimulated with lymphotoxin. In addition, stimulators of protein kinase C, including phorbol esters and teleocidin, enhanced accumulation of IL-6 mRNA. Cycloheximide (CHX), inhibitor of protein synthesis, also markedly increased levels of IL-6 mRNA. Both CHX and activators of protein kinase C increased by greater than 16-fold the stability of IL-6 mRNA. Further, dose-response studies showed that sodium fluoride (NaF), activator of G-binding proteins, and ouabain, inhibitor of Na+/H+ pump, increased levels of IL-6 mRNA. NaF stimulated IL-6 mRNA levels independent of protein kinase C activity. These results suggest that stimulators of several pathways of signal transduction increase levels of IL-6 mRNA and posttranscriptional stabilization is, in part, the mechanism that many of these signals, including lymphotoxin, use to increase levels of IL-6 RNA.
M Akashi, A H Loussararian, D C Adelman, M Saito, H P Koeffler