Interleukin 6 gene transcripts are expressed in human atherosclerotic lesions

Cytokine. 1994 Jan;6(1):87-91. doi: 10.1016/1043-4666(94)90013-2.


Factors controlling the proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells (SMC) are thought to be key elements in the progression of atherosclerosis. We have previously shown that interleukin 6 (IL-6) stimulates the growth of SMC in vitro and that IL-6 gene transcripts are expressed in atherosclerotic lesions of genetically hyperlipidemic rabbits. To understand the involvement of IL-6 in the development of human atherosclerosis, we investigated IL-6 mRNA expression in atherosclerotic arteries from patients undergoing surgical vascularization, utilizing reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and in situ hybridization analyses. In RT-PCR analysis, the atherosclerotic arteries showed 10- to 40-fold levels of IL-6 mRNA expression over the non-atherosclerotic artery. In in situ hybridization analysis, IL-6 gene transcripts were observed in the thickened intimal layer of atherosclerotic lesions. These results strongly suggest the involvement of IL-6 in the development of human atherosclerosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / biosynthesis
  • Arteries / immunology
  • Arteries / metabolism*
  • Arteriosclerosis / immunology
  • Arteriosclerosis / metabolism*
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Primers
  • Gene Expression*
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Interleukin-6 / biosynthesis*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / immunology
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / metabolism*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Reference Values
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Actins
  • DNA Primers
  • Interleukin-6
  • RNA, Messenger