IL-6 trans-signaling promotes pancreatitis-associated lung injury and lethality

Hong Zhang, Patrick Neuhoefer, Liang Song, Bjoern Rabe, Marina Lesina, Magdalena U. Kurkowski, Matthias Treiber, Thomas Wartmann, Sara Regnér, Henrik Thorlacius, Dieter Saur, Gregor Weirich, Akihiko Yoshimura, Walter Halangk, Joseph P. Mizgerd, Roland M. Schmid, Stefan Rose-John, Hana Alguel

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Acute lung injury (ALI) is an inflammatory disease with a high mortality rate. Although typically seen in individuals with sepsis, ALI is also a major complication in severe acute pancreatitis (SAP). The pathophysiology of SAP-associated ALI is poorly understood, but elevated serum levels of IL-6 is a reliable marker for disease severity. Here, we used a mouse model of acute pancreatitis–associated (AP-associated) ALI to determine the role of IL-6 in ALI lethality. Il6-deficient mice had a lower death rate compared with wild-type mice with AP, while mice injected with IL-6 were more likely to develop lethal ALI. We found that inflammation-associated NF-κB induced myeloid cell secretion of IL-6, and the effects of secreted IL-6 were mediated by complexation with soluble IL-6 receptor, a process known as trans-signaling. IL-6 trans-signaling stimulated phosphorylation of STAT3 and production of the neutrophil attractant CXCL1 in pancreatic acinar cells. Examination of human samples revealed expression of IL-6 in combination with soluble IL-6 receptor was a reliable predictor of ALI in SAP. These results demonstrate that IL-6 trans-signaling is an essential mediator of ALI in SAP across species and suggest that therapeutic inhibition of IL-6 may prevent SAP-associated ALI.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1019-1031
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Surgery


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