Interleukin-6 is expressed by plasma cells from patients with multiple myeloma and monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance.
Sati HI., Apperley JF., Greaves M., Lawry J., Gooding R., Russell RG., Croucher PI.
Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is an important growth factor for human myeloma cells in vitro and in vivo. However, the identity of the cells producing IL-6 in vivo in patients with multiple myeloma (MM) remains the subject of debate. We have developed a sensitive dual-colour fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) technique to investigate the expression of IL-6 mRNA by individual bone marrow plasma cells from patients with multiple myeloma, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) and healthy subjects. IL-6 mRNA could be identified in all immunoglobulin light chain (IgLC) expressing cells from all patients with MM and MGUS. The IL-6 protein could also be detected by direct immunofluorescence in all plasma cells (cytoplasmic light chain positive) from all patients with MM and MGUS. Furthermore, it was also possible to demonstrate cytoplasmic IL-6 staining of plasma cells from patients with MM by flow cytometric analysis. In contrast, neither the IL-6 mRNA or protein could be detected in normal plasma cells from healthy bone marrow donors. These data demonstrate that plasma cells from patients with MM and MGUS express the IL-6 mRNA and synthesize the IL-6 protein and support the hypothesis that autocrine synthesis of IL-6 is of importance in patients with MM.