IL-6 up-regulates CNTF mRNA expression and enhances neurite regeneration

Neuroreport. 2001 Apr 17;12(5):1081-5. doi: 10.1097/00001756-200104170-00043.


Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a neurotrophic cytokine, however, its direct effect on nerve regeneration has not been well characterized. We therefore examined the effect of IL-6 on neurite regeneration using the rat dorsal root ganglion. IL-6 significantly enhanced neurite regeneration from transected nerve terminals. We also examined the mRNA expression of IL-6 family cytokines and their receptors during the regeneration. The mRNA expressions of IL-6, IL-6 receptor, leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) receptor alpha, and LIF receptor beta showed no significant differences by the addition of IL-6. In contrast, IL-6 enhanced the mRNA expression of gp130 and CNTF. In addition, CNTF significantly increased neurite regeneration when added exogenously. Our data suggest that IL-6 enhanced regeneration via up-regulating CNTF expression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Axotomy
  • Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor / biosynthesis*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Interleukin-6 / pharmacology*
  • Nerve Regeneration / drug effects*
  • Neurites / drug effects*
  • Presynaptic Terminals / drug effects
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Up-Regulation / drug effects*


  • Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor
  • Interleukin-6
  • RNA, Messenger