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      Interleukin-6 Mediates Post-Infarct Repair by Cardiac Explant-Derived Stem Cells

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          Although patient-sourced cardiac explant-derived stem cells (EDCs) provide an exogenous source of new cardiomyocytes post-myocardial infarction, poor long-term engraftment indicates that the benefits seen in clinical trials are likely paracrine-mediated. Of the numerous cytokines produced by EDCs, interleukin-6 (IL-6) is the most abundant; however, its role in cardiac repair is uncertain. In this study, a custom short-hairpin oligonucleotide lentivirus was used to knockdown IL-6 in human EDCs, revealing an unexpected pro-healing role for the cytokine.

          Methods: EDCs were cultured from atrial appendages donated by patients undergoing clinically indicated cardiac surgery. The effects of lentiviral mediated knockdown of IL-6 was evaluated using in vitro and in vivo models of myocardial ischemia.

          Results: Silencing IL-6 in EDCs abrogated much of the benefits conferred by cell transplantation and revealed that IL-6 prompts cardiac fibroblasts and macrophages to reduce myocardial scarring while increasing the generation of new cardiomyocytes and recruitment of blood stem cells.

          Conclusions: This study suggests that IL-6 plays a pivotal role in EDC-mediated cardiac repair and may provide a means of increasing cell-mediated repair of ischemic myocardium.

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          Most cited references 36

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          The pro- and anti-inflammatory properties of the cytokine interleukin-6.

          Interleukin-6 is a cytokine not only involved in inflammation and infection responses but also in the regulation of metabolic, regenerative, and neural processes. In classic signaling, interleukin-6 stimulates target cells via a membrane bound interleukin-6 receptor, which upon ligand binding associates with the signaling receptor protein gp130. Gp130 dimerizes, leading to the activation of Janus kinases and subsequent phosphorylation of tyrosine residues within the cytoplasmic portion of gp130. This leads to the engagement of phosphatase Src homology domains containing tyrosin phosphatase-2 (SHP-2) and activation of the ras/raf/Mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase (MAPK) pathway. In addition, signal transducer and activator of transcription factors are recruited, which are phosphorylated, and consequently dimerize whereupon they translocate into the nucleus and activate target genes. Interestingly, only few cells express membrane bound interleukin-6 receptor whereas all cells display gp130 on the cell surface. While cells, which only express gp130, are not responsive to interleukin-6 alone, they can respond to a complex of interleukin-6 bound to a naturally occurring soluble form of the interleukin-6 receptor. Therefore, the generation of soluble form of the interleukin-6 receptor dramatically enlarges the spectrum of interleukin-6 target cells. This process has been named trans-signaling. Here, we review the involvement of both signaling modes in the biology of interleukin-6. It turns out that regenerative or anti-inflammatory activities of interleukin-6 are mediated by classic signaling whereas pro-inflammatory responses of interleukin-6 are rather mediated by trans-signaling. This is important since therapeutic blockade of interleukin-6 by the neutralizing anti-interleukin-6 receptor monoclonal antibody tocilizumab has recently been approved for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: 11th European Symposium on Calcium. 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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            Plasma concentration of interleukin-6 and the risk of future myocardial infarction among apparently healthy men.

            Interleukin-6 (IL-6) plays a central role in inflammation and tissue injury. However, epidemiological data evaluating the role of IL-6 in atherogenesis are sparse. In a prospective study involving 14 916 apparently healthy men, we measured baseline plasma concentration of IL-6 in 202 participants who subsequently developed myocardial infarction (MI) and in 202 study participants matched for age and smoking status who did not report vascular disease during a 6-year follow-up. Median concentrations of IL-6 at baseline were higher among men who subsequently had an MI than among those who did not (1.81 versus 1. 46 pg/mL; P=0.002). The risk of future MI increased with increasing quartiles of baseline IL-6 concentration (P for trend <0.001) such that men in the highest quartile at entry had a relative risk 2.3 times higher than those in the lowest quartile (95% CI 1.3 to 4.3, P=0.005); for each quartile increase in IL-6, there was a 38% increase in risk (P=0.001).This relationship remained significant after adjustment for other cardiovascular risk factors, was stable over long periods of follow-up, and was present in all low-risk subgroups, including nonsmokers. Although the strongest correlate of IL-6 in these data was C-reactive protein (r=0.43, P<0.001), the relationship of IL-6 with subsequent risk remained after control for this factor (P<0.001). In apparently healthy men, elevated levels of IL-6 are associated with increased risk of future MI. These data thus support a role for cytokine-mediated inflammation in the early stages of atherogenesis.
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              The inflammatory response in myocardial infarction.

              One of the major therapeutic goals of modern cardiology is to design strategies aimed at minimizing myocardial necrosis and optimizing cardiac repair following myocardial infarction. However, a sound understanding of the biology is necessary before a specific intervention is pursued on a therapeutic basis. This review summarizes our current understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating the inflammatory response following myocardial ischemia and reperfusion. Myocardial necrosis induces complement activation and free radical generation, triggering a cytokine cascade initiated by Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF)-alpha release. If reperfusion of the infarcted area is initiated, it is attended by an intense inflammatory reaction. Interleukin (IL)-8 synthesis and C5a activation have a crucial role in recruiting neutrophils in the ischemic and reperfused myocardium. Neutrophil infiltration is regulated through a complex sequence of molecular steps involving the selectins and the integrins, which mediate leukocyte rolling and adhesion to the endothelium. Marginated neutrophils exert potent cytotoxic effects through the release of proteolytic enzymes and the adhesion with Intercellular Adhesion Molecule (ICAM)-1 expressing cardiomyocytes. Despite this potential injury, substantial evidence suggests that reperfusion enhances cardiac repair improving patient survival; this effect may be in part related to the inflammatory response. Monocyte Chemoattractant Protein (MCP)-1 is also markedly upregulated in the infarcted myocardium inducing recruitment of mononuclear cells in the injured areas. Monocyte-derived macrophages and mast cells may produce cytokines and growth factors necessary for fibroblast proliferation and neovascularization, leading to effective repair and scar formation. At this stage expression of inhibitory cytokines such as IL-10 may have a role in suppressing the acute inflammatory response and in regulating extracellular matrix metabolism. Fibroblasts in the healing scar undergo phenotypic changes expressing smooth muscle cell markers. Our previous review in this journal focused almost exclusively on reduction of the inflammatory injury. The current update is prompted by the potential therapeutic opportunity that the open vessel offers. By promoting more effective tissue repair, it may be possible to reduce the deleterious remodeling, that is the leading cause of heart failure and death. Elucidating the complex interactions and regulatory mechanisms responsible for cardiac repair may allow us to design effective inflammation-related interventions for the treatment of myocardial infarction.

                Author and article information

                Ivyspring International Publisher (Sydney )
                17 October 2017
                : 7
                : 19
                : 4850-4861
                [1 ]University of Ottawa Heart Institute, Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada K1Y4W7;
                [2 ]Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Division of Regenerative Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada K1H8L6
                Author notes
                ✉ Corresponding author: Darryl R Davis MD, University of Ottawa Heart Institute, H3214 40 Ruskin Ave, Ottawa, Ontario, K1Y4W7, Canada, Telephone: 613-696-7136, FAX: 613-696-7136, ddavis@

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interest exists.

                © Ivyspring International Publisher

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) license ( See for full terms and conditions.

                Research Paper

                Molecular medicine

                cell therapy, interleukin-6, stem cells, myocardial infarction


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