Expression of interleukin-6 receptor (IL-6R) and gp130 mRNA in PC12 cells and sympathetic neurons: modulation by tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha)

Brain Res. 1996 Jan 8;706(1):71-9. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(95)01210-9.


Recent findings indicate that IL-6, besides its various biological effects, also exerts neurotrophic and neuroprotective functions. Using the pheochromocytoma cell line PC12 and cultured primary sympathetic neurons, we investigated whether neurons express the IL-6 receptors, IL-6R and gp130, and how they might be regulated. For these studies we used RT-PCR and in situ hybridization. We provide here evidence for the expression of functional IL-6Rs in peripheral sympathetic neurons and PC12 cells. Furthermore we demonstrate that cytokines modulate the expression of IL-6R and gp130 mRNA. This modulation is much more pronounced in neuronally-differentiated PC12 cells than in undifferentiated cells. Among various cytokines tested, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) turned out to be a major regulator of the IL-6R and gp130 mRNA expression. The induction was time- and dose-dependent for both genes. Maximal induction was reached within 16 h at a concentration of 0.1 nM TNF-alpha. The stimulatory effect of TNF-alpha on the IL-6R system was completely inhibited by the simultaneous addition of the glucocorticoid dexamethasone. In summary, our results show that sympathetic neurons and neuron-like differentiated PC12 cells express functional IL-6R and gp130, and that the expression of their mRNAs is modulated by cytokines. We suggest that cytokines such as IL-6 can modulate sympathetic neuron function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / genetics*
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokine Receptor gp130
  • Dexamethasone / pharmacology
  • Glucocorticoids / pharmacology
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics*
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • PC12 Cells
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Interleukin / genetics*
  • Receptors, Interleukin-6
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Superior Cervical Ganglion / cytology
  • Superior Cervical Ganglion / drug effects*
  • Superior Cervical Ganglion / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / pharmacology*


  • Antigens, CD
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Il6st protein, rat
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Interleukin
  • Receptors, Interleukin-6
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Cytokine Receptor gp130
  • Dexamethasone