Production of the cytokines interleukin 1 and 6 by murine brain microvessel endothelium and smooth muscle pericytes

J Neuroimmunol. 1993 Aug;47(1):23-34. doi: 10.1016/0165-5728(93)90281-3.


Murine brain microvessel endothelial cells and smooth muscle/pericytes (SM/P) cells were cultured from newborn BALB/c (normal strain) and SJL/j (autoimmune-prone strain) mice. These cells were evaluated for their ability to produce interleukin (IL)-1 and IL-6 cytokines. The expression of mRNA for IL-1 and IL-6 was shown in highly purified BALB/c endothelial cells and SM/P cells using polymerase chain reaction with specific primers for IL-1 alpha, IL-1 beta and IL-6. IL-6 but not IL-1 mRNA was detected in unstimulated SJL/j brain microvessel cells. The presence of IL-1 and IL-6 mRNA in the BALB/c brain microvessel endothelial cells and SM/P was confirmed by in situ hybridization. By D10.G4.1 assay, unstimulated BALB/c endothelial cells were shown to produce active IL-1 to a higher degree than SM/P. By B9 bioassay, a low amount of active IL-6 was detected in the supernatant of endothelial cells and SM/P. The production of IL-1 and IL-6 in the bioassays was upregulated by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) activation of the cells in a time- and dose-dependent way. IL-6 production was also shown to be upregulated by IL-1 beta activation of the cells. Brain microvessel endothelial cells of SJL/j origin released equivalent amounts of IL-6 compared to endothelial cells of BALB/c origin. However, the production of IL-6 was markedly higher in SM/P of SJL/j origin than in those of BALB/c origin. These observations, together with our previous data showing that brain microvessel SM/P cells produce GM-CSF, emphasize the possibility for active participation of brain microvasculature SM/P as well as endothelium in inflammatory reactions of the central nervous system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Biological Assay
  • Brain / blood supply*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / immunology*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Interleukin-1 / biosynthesis*
  • Interleukin-1 / genetics
  • Interleukin-6 / biosynthesis*
  • Interleukin-6 / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Muscle, Smooth / cytology
  • Muscle, Smooth / immunology*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Up-Regulation


  • Interleukin-1
  • Interleukin-6
  • RNA, Messenger