The multifunctional cytokine interleukin 6 (IL‐6) has direct growth, survival and differentiation effects on peripheral and central neurons. Furthermore, it can modulate the production by non‐neuronal cells of other cytokines and growth factors, and thereby affect nerve cells indirectly. We have studied IL‐6 expression and production in intact and injured peripheral nerves of C57/BL/6NHSD mice, which display the normal rapid progression of Wallerian degeneration. The IL‐6 mRNA was detected in nerves degenerating in vitro or in vivo, but not in intact nerves. In vitro‐ and in vivo‐degenerating nerve segments and neuroma nerve segments synthesized and secreted IL‐6. The onset of IL‐6 production was rapid and prolonged. It was detected as early as 2 h after injury and persisted for the entire period of 21 days tested after the injury. Of the non‐neuronal cells that reside in intact and injured nerves, macrophages and fibroblasts were the major contributors to IL‐6 production. We also studied IL‐6 production in intact and injured nerves of mutant C57BL/6‐WLD/OLA/NHSD mice, which display very slow progression of Wallerian degeneration. Injured nerves of C57BL/6‐WLD/OLA/NHSD mice produced significantly lower amounts of IL‐6 than did rapidly degenerating nerves of C57/BL/6NHSD mice.
European Journal of Neuroscience – Wiley
Published: Mar 1, 1996
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