Status of Stat3 in an ovalbumin-induced mouse model of asthma: analysis of the role of Socs3 and IL-6

Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2009;148(2):99-108. doi: 10.1159/000155740. Epub 2008 Sep 18.


Background: Stat3, Socs3 and cytokines play an integral role in the coordination and persistence of inflammation. However, a clear understanding of the role played by the Stat3/IL-6 and Socs3 pathway in airway inflammation is lacking. We report the alteration in the status of expression and activation of Stat3 by ovalbumin (OVA), and establish its relationship with Socs3 and IL-6 in the lungs of mice with eosinophilic pulmonary inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness.

Methods: Alterations in the expression of Stat3, Socs3 and IL-6 were determined in a murine model of asthma, where Balb/c mice were sensitized and challenged with OVA (OVA/OVA) and compared with control mice sensitized and challenged with saline (SAL) (SAL/SAL) mice. The OVA/OVA mice were characterized by a moderate increase in methacholine-induced specific airway resistance, the presence of 150 microg/ml of OVA-specific IgG and 8.93 microg/ml OVA-specific IgE antibody and elevated levels of eosinophils and Th2 cytokines (IL-4 and IL-5) in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. In contrast SAL/SAL mice had low eosinophils, IL-4 and IL-5 and no OVA-specific IgG and IgE antibodies in the BALF. Stat3 and Socs3 expression profiles were monitored in OVA/OVA and Stat3- and Socs3-silenced OVA/OVA mice. Furthermore, expression of IL-6 in Stat3- and Socs3-silenced mice and the exogenous effect of IL-6 on Stat3 were studied.

Results: The results show that expression and activation of Stat3 mRNA and proteins are significantly low in lung of OVA/OVA mice in comparison to SAL/SAL mice following OVA challenge. An increased pool of Socs3 mRNA is observed in OVA/OVA mice with or without OVA challenge and in SAL/SAL mice 24 h after OVA challenge. Transient in vivo blocking of Socs3 gene by Socs3 siRNA restores the expression of IL-6 mRNA and protein in OVA/OVA mice, and nasal administration of recombinant IL-6 to OVA/OVA mice enhanced Stat3 mRNA expression.

Conclusions: Our data suggest that airway inflammation is associated with low expression of Stat3 and IL-6 and overexpression of Socs3 genes in a mouse model of asthma. Furthermore, IL-6 is under the influence of the Socs3 gene and may contribute to the negative regulation of Stat3 via IL-6 following a challenge with an allergen during the development of asthma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asthma / immunology*
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / immunology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Eosinophils / immunology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Interleukin-6 / genetics
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Ovalbumin / immunology
  • Ovalbumin / pharmacology*
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / genetics
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / metabolism
  • Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling 3 Protein
  • Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling Proteins / genetics
  • Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling Proteins / metabolism*


  • Interleukin-6
  • SOCS3 protein, human
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling 3 Protein
  • Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling Proteins
  • Ovalbumin