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Interleukin 6 (IL-6) probably plays a central role in the acute phase response and in haemopoiesis and may be involved in the control of bone turnover. We have studied the release of IL-6 from human trabecular bone cells treated with a variety of stimuli using a specific bioassay. In serum free medium, unstimulated human osteoblast-like cells produced IL-6 in the range of 1000-2050 pg/ml/24 h. Recombinant human interleukin 1 (IL-1 alpha) (10(-13)-10(-11) M), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) (10(-9)-10(-7) M) and lipopolysaccharide (5-500 ng/ml) all stimulated release of IL-6 from human bone cells. Maximal levels of 17,000 pg/ml were observed using the highest concentration of IL-1. 1,25(OH)2D3 and PTH did not stimulate IL-6 release. Using a specific sheep antihuman IL-6 antibody, all IL-6 activity could be neutralized. In parallel studies, ROS 17/2.8 rat osteosarcoma cells released around 50 pg/ml of IL-6 under basal conditions which were increased to a maximum of 900 pg/ml by treatment with PTH (10(-9) M). The cytokines were less effective and 1,25(OH)2D3 again had no effect. Modulation of expression of IL-6 mRNA in human osteoblast cells was examined using a human complementary deoxyribonucleic acid probe. The mRNA was constitutively expressed, and IL-1 (10(-11) M) and TNF (10(-7) M) induced further mRNA expression within 2 h, which was sustained over 24 h. 1,25(OH)2D3 (10(-7) M), IL-6 (2000 pg/ml), and PTH (10(-9) M) exerted no effects at any time point. Dexamethasone (10(-6) M) suppressed both basal and IL-1- and TNF-induced IL-6 mRNA expression. IL-6 receptor mRNA was constitutively expressed but was not regulated by any of the above agents. It is clear that rodent and human osteoblasts differ in their production of IL-6 and its modulation. These data support the hypothesis that IL-6 is produced locally in human bone by osteoblasts under the direction of other cytokines. This could have implications in bone remodeling, haemopoiesis, and systemic responses to local injury.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1513 - 1520


Blotting, Northern, Calcitriol, Cell Line, Cells, Cultured, DNA Probes, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Gene Expression, Humans, Interleukin-1, Interleukin-6, Kinetics, Lipopolysaccharides, Neutralization Tests, Osteoblasts, Parathyroid Hormone, Peptide Fragments, RNA, RNA, Messenger, Receptors, Immunologic, Receptors, Interleukin-6, Recombinant Proteins, Teriparatide, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha