JOURNAL ARTICLE

IL-6/sIL-6R trans-signalling, but not TNF-alpha induced angiogenesis in a HUVEC and synovial cell co-culture system

Misato Hashizume, Naohiko Hayakawa, Miho Suzuki, Masahiko Mihara
Rheumatology International 2009, 29 (12): 1449-54
19277666
Angiogenesis in synovia is a characteristic of RA patients. We examined whether IL-6 or TNF-alpha induce tubule formation in a co-culture system of fibroblast-like synovial cells from RA patients (RA-FLS) and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC). The effects of IL-6 and TNF-alpha on the expression of angiogenic factors in RA-FLS and HUVEC, and the proliferation of HUVEC were also studied. IL-6 + sIL-6R induced tubule formation, whereas IL-6 alone did not. IL-6/sIL-6R-induced tubule formation was completely suppressed by the addition of either anti-IL-6R or anti-VEGF antibody. TNF-alpha did not induce tubule formation. On the contrary, it decreased CD31-positive area compared with the control. IL-6 + sIL-6R augmented VEGF production in RA-FLS, whereas IL-6 alone did not. Anti-IL-6R antibody suppressed IL-6/sIL-6R-induced VEGF production, but not spontaneous VEGF production. In contrast, TNF-alpha did not induce VEGF production from RA-FLS and HUVEC. IL-6 + sIL-6R stimulation of RA-FLS strongly induced mRNA expression of VEGF, but not of other angiogenic factors, such as EGF, bFGF, TGF-beta, IL-1, TNF-alpha and IL-8. Neither IL-6 nor IL-6/sIL-6R promoted HUVEC proliferation, whereas TNF-alpha significantly inhibited VEGF-induced HUVEC proliferation. In conclusion, IL-6/sIL-6R complex showed angiogenic activity via the production of VEGF from RA-FLS, but TNF-alpha was anti-angiogenic in our experimental system.

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