Elevated interleukin-6 expression in keloid fibroblasts

J Surg Res. 2000 Mar;89(1):74-7. doi: 10.1006/jsre.1999.5805.


Keloids are characterized by a net accumulation of collagen. To date, the role of growth factors and various cytokines in the pathogenesis of these lesions has not been fully characterized. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is an important immunoregulatory cytokine that has been implicated in a number of fibrotic autoimmune diseases such as scleroderma, interstitial nephritis, and pulmonary interstitial fibrosis. However, the role of IL-6 in the development of keloids has yet to be defined. This study demonstrates increased expression of the IL-6 gene in fibroblasts isolated from patients with keloids when compared with control fibroblasts using the ribonuclease protection assay. Subsequent detection of increased levels of IL-6 secretion by keloid fibroblasts is also demonstrated under unstimulated and stimulated conditions using serum and interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) (unstimulated: 0.3694 + 0.2499 pg/cell vs 0.0662 + 0.0786 pg/cell, P = 0.0137; serum: 1.066 + 0.513 pg/cell vs 0.233 + 0.231 pg/cell, P = 0.0027; serum and IFN-gamma: 1.286 + 0.395 pg/cell vs 0.244 + 0.199 pg/cell, P < 0.0001). These results suggest that IL-6 may play a significant role in the pathogenesis of keloids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Physiological Phenomena
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism*
  • Fibroblasts / physiology
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-6 / genetics
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism*
  • Keloid / genetics
  • Keloid / metabolism*
  • Keloid / pathology


  • Interleukin-6
  • Interferon-gamma