Interleukin-6 trans-signaling inhibition prevents oxidative stress in a mouse model of early diabetic retinopathy

Redox Biol. 2020 Jul:34:101574. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2020.101574. Epub 2020 May 13.


Purpose: Diabetic retinopathy (DR), a microvascular complication of diabetes, is the leading cause of visual disability and blindness in diabetic patients. Chronic hyperglycemia leads to increased oxidative stress and inflammation in the retina, resulting in microvascular damage. Our recent in vitro studies have demonstrated that inhibition of interleukin-6 (IL-6) trans-signaling significantly reduces oxidative stress in retinal endothelial cells. The purpose of this study was to further explore the relationship between IL-6 trans-signaling and oxidative stress using a streptozotocin (STZ) induced mouse model of early diabetic retinopathy.

Methods: Diabetes was induced in eight week-old male C57BL/6J mice using STZ injections. sgp130Fc (mouse sgp130Fc protein) treatment was used for inhibition of IL-6 trans-signaling. Studies were conducted to evaluate the effects of IL-6 trans-signaling on oxidative balance at the systemic and retinal level.

Results: Decreased antioxidant capacity and increased oxidative stress was observed in diabetic mice, which returned to near-normal levels with sgp130Fc treatment. Similarly, superoxide levels, lipid peroxidation, and markers of oxidative DNA damage were increased in the diabetic retina, and these effects were abrogated by sgp130Fc treatment. Inhibition of IL-6 trans-signaling also restored normal expression of catalase and endothelial nitric oxide synthase in mouse retinas.

Conclusions: Inhibition of IL-6 trans-signaling significantly reduces diabetes-induced oxidative damage at the systemic level and in the retina. These findings provide further evidence for the role of IL-6 trans-signaling in diabetes-mediated oxidative stress.

Keywords: Diabetic retinopathy; IL-6 trans-signaling; Oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental* / drug therapy
  • Diabetic Retinopathy* / drug therapy
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Interleukin-6 / genetics
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Retina / metabolism


  • Interleukin-6
  • interleukin-6, mouse