Blockade of IL-6 trans signaling attenuates pulmonary fibrosis

T. Le Thanh-Thuy, Harry Karmouty-Quintana, Ernestina Melicoff, T. Le Thanh-Truc, Tingting Weng, Ning Yuan Chen, Mesias Pedroza, Yang Zhou, Jonathan Davies, Kemly Philip, Jose Molina, Fayong Luo, Anuh T. George, Luis J. Garcia-Morales, Raquel R. Bunge, Brian A. Bruckner, Matthias Loebe, Harish Seethamraju, Sandeep K. Agarwal, Michael R. Blackburn

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110 Scopus citations


Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a lethal lung disease with progressive fibrosis and death within 2-3 y of diagnosis. IPF incidence and prevalence rates are increasing annually with few effective treatments available. Inhibition of IL-6 results in the attenuation of pulmonary fibrosis in mice. It is unclear whether this is due to blockade of classical signaling, mediated by membrane-bound IL-6Ra, or trans signaling, mediated by soluble IL-6Ra (sIL-6Ra). Our study assessed the role of sIL-6Ra in IPF. We demonstrated elevations of sIL-6Ra in IPF patients and in mice during the onset and progression of fibrosis. We demonstrated that protease-mediated cleavage from lung macrophages was important in production of sIL-6Ra. In vivo neutralization of sIL-6Ra attenuated pulmonary fibrosis in mice as seen by reductions in myofibroblasts, fibronectin, and collagen in the lung. In vitro activation of IL-6 trans signaling enhanced fibroblast proliferation and extracellular matrix protein production, effects relevant in the progression of pulmonary fibrosis. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that the production of sIL- 6Ra from macrophages in the diseased lung contributes to IL-6 trans signaling that in turn influences events crucial in pulmonary fibrosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3755-3768
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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  • Cite this

    Le Thanh-Thuy, T., Karmouty-Quintana, H., Melicoff, E., Le Thanh-Truc, T., Weng, T., Chen, N. Y., Pedroza, M., Zhou, Y., Davies, J., Philip, K., Molina, J., Luo, F., George, A. T., Garcia-Morales, L. J., Bunge, R. R., Bruckner, B. A., Loebe, M., Seethamraju, H., Agarwal, S. K., & Blackburn, M. R. (2014). Blockade of IL-6 trans signaling attenuates pulmonary fibrosis. Journal of Immunology, 193(7), 3755-3768.