Orchiectomy increases bone marrow interleukin-6 levels in mice

Calcif Tissue Int. 1998 Mar;62(3):219-26. doi: 10.1007/s002239900421.


Interleukin-6 (IL-6) appears to be an important factor in disease states associated with bone resorption. There is both in vitro and in vivo evidence supporting the fact that androgens down-regulate interleukin-6 production. These observations, in combination with the fact that osteoblasts and bone marrow stromal cells produce IL-6, led us to hypothesize that orchiectomy-induced androgen loss will result in increased IL-6 expression in the bone microenvironment. To prove our hypothesis we assessed the effect of orchiectomy on IL-6 protein and mRNA expression in bone marrow and spleen. We found that orchiectomy was associated with increased serum IL-6 levels at 3 and 28 days postsurgery. Phorbol ester-stimulated IL-6 levels were also higher in supernatants from bone marrow and spleen cell cultures from orchiectomized mice compared with unoperated or sham-operated mice. Additionally, we found that steady state IL-6 mRNA levels were increased in bone marrow but not spleen cells. Finally, we found that orchiectomized mice had splenomegaly and increased bone marrow cellularity. Histopathology of the spleen revealed lymphoid hyperplasia accompanied by a marked mononuclear cell infiltration of the red pulp. We conclude that orchiectomy induces IL-6 expression in the bone marrow. These findings suggest that endocrine and cytokine interactions contribute to bone pathophysiology.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / metabolism*
  • Cell Count
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA Primers / chemistry
  • Interleukin-6 / genetics
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Orchiectomy*
  • Organ Size
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Spleen / pathology


  • DNA Primers
  • Interleukin-6
  • RNA, Messenger