Interleukin-6 and interleukin-8 protein and gene expression in human arterial atherosclerotic wall

Atherosclerosis. 1996 Dec 20;127(2):263-71. doi: 10.1016/s0021-9150(96)05968-0.


Interleukin 6 (IL-6) and interleukin 8 (IL-8) are present in the human arterial atherosclerotic wall as cellular and extracellular deposits in the connective tissue matrix. Quantitative determinations of IL-6 by ELISA showed mean values of 27.6 +/- 3.3 ng/100 mg protein in normal intima, 37.3 +/- 2.1 ng/100 mg protein in fibrous plaque and 25.7 +/- 4.3 ng/100 mg total extracted protein in media. IL-8 levels were 3.5 +/- 0.6 ng/100 mg protein in normal intima, 11.3 +/- 2.1 ng/100 mg protein in fibrous plaque and 8.5 +/- 1.4 ng/100 mg total extracted protein in media. Fibrous plaques presented statistically significant higher levels of both IL-6 and IL-8. IL-6 and IL-8 gene transcripts were present in human iliac fibrous plaque and media prelevated at surgery indicating that a local production by the cells of the arterial wall participate to their accumulation. We also tested the role of complement activation in induction of IL-6 and IL-8 protein synthesis as well as the subsequent activation of endothelial cells. Only IL-8 was induced by complement activation and this may contribute to increased IL-8 levels found in the atherosclerotic wall. When exposed to terminal complement complexes, endothelial cells in culture also showed an increase of both DNA-synthesis and p70 S6 kinase activity indicating that complement is able to induce not only IL-8 synthesis but also cell activation. The presence of IL-6 and IL-8 in the arterial wall where complement activation also occurred, clearly show the involvement of inflammatory events in initiation and progression of atherosclerosis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aorta / metabolism
  • Aorta / pathology
  • Arteriosclerosis / metabolism*
  • Arteriosclerosis / pathology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA / biosynthesis
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / pathology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Femoral Artery / metabolism
  • Femoral Artery / pathology
  • Gene Expression*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Interleukin-6 / biosynthesis*
  • Interleukin-6 / genetics
  • Interleukin-8 / biosynthesis*
  • Interleukin-8 / genetics
  • Middle Aged
  • Oligonucleotide Probes / chemistry
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • RNA / analysis*
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases


  • Interleukin-6
  • Interleukin-8
  • Oligonucleotide Probes
  • RNA
  • DNA
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases