The inflammatory signalling mediator TAK1 mediates lymphocyte recruitment to lipopolysaccharide-activated murine mesenchymal stem cells through interleukin-6

Mol Cell Biochem. 2021 Oct;476(10):3655-3670. doi: 10.1007/s11010-021-04180-8. Epub 2021 May 29.


As a response to pro-inflammatory signals mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) secrete agents and factors leading to lymphocyte recruitment, counteracting inflammation, and stimulating immunosuppression. On a molecular level, the signalling mediator TGF-β-activated kinase 1 (TAK1) is activated by many pro-inflammatory signals, plays a critical role in inflammation and regulates innate and adaptive immune responses as well. While the role of TAK1 as a signalling factor promoting inflammation is well documented, we also considered a role for TAK1 in anti-inflammatory actions exerted by activated MSCs. We, therefore, investigated the capacity of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-treated murine MSCs with lentivirally modulated TAK1 expression levels to recruit lymphocytes. TAK1 downregulated by lentiviral vectors expressing TAK1 shRNA in murine MSCs interfered with the capacity of murine MSCs to chemoattract lymphocytes, indeed. Analysing a pool of 84 secreted factors we found that among 26 secreted cytokines/factors TAK1 regulated expression of one cytokine in LPS-activated murine MSCs in particular: interleukin-6 (IL-6). IL-6 in LPS-treated MSCs was responsible for lymphocyte recruitment as substantiated by neutralizing antibodies. Our studies, therefore, suggest that in LPS-treated murine MSCs the inflammatory signalling mediator TAK1 may exert anti-inflammatory properties via IL-6.

Keywords: Differentiation; Infection; Inflammation; Promiscuous function of TAK1.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / genetics
  • Interleukin-6 / immunology*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinases / genetics
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinases / immunology*
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / drug effects*
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / genetics
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / immunology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / immunology*
  • Mice


  • Interleukin-6
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • interleukin-6, mouse
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinases
  • MAP kinase kinase kinase 7