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Interaction of IL-6 and TNF-α contributes to endothelial dysfunction in type 2 diabetic mouse hearts

Lee, Jonghae; Lee, Sewon; Zhang, Hanrui; Hill, Michael A.; Zhang, Cuihua; Park, Yoonjung

Inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), are individually considered as important contributors to endothelial dysfunction in obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D). However, their interactions in coronary arteriole endothelial dysfunction are uncertain. Therefore, this study aimed to determine the effects of TNF-α and IL-6 interactions on coronary endothelial dysfunction in experimental T2D.

The studies used wild type (WT), diabetic mice (db/db), db/db null for TNF (dbTNF-/dbTNF-), and db/db mice treated with neutralizing antibody to IL-6 (anti-IL-6). Endothelium-dependent (acetylcholine [ACh], or luminal flow-induced shear stress) and endothelium-independent (sodium nitroprusside [SNP]) vasodilation of isolated and pressurized coronary arterioles were determined. Quantitative PCR, Western blot, and immunofluorescence staining were utilized for mechanistic studies.

Relative to WT, arteriolar dilation to both ACh and flow was attenuated in db/db mice and dbTNF-/dbTNF-. Treatment of dbTNF-/dbTNF- and db/db mice with anti-IL-6 improved arteriolar dilation compared to db/db mice. Immunofluorescence staining illustrated localization of IL-6 within the endothelial cells of coronary arterioles. In db/db mice, mRNA and protein expression of IL-6 and superoxide (O2-) production were higher, but reduced by anti-IL-6 treatment. Also, in db/db mice, mRNA and protein expression of TNF-α suppressed by the anti-IL-6 treatment and the reduced expression of mRNA and protein expression of IL-6 by the genetic deletion of TNF-α both supported a reciprocal regulation between TNF-α and IL-6. Superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) expression and phosphorylation of eNOS (p-eNOS/eNOS) were lower in db/db mice coronary arterioles and were restored in db/db+Anti-IL-6 and dbTNF-/dbTNF- mice.

The interactions between TNF-α and IL-6 exacerbate oxidative stress and reduce phosphorylation of eNOS, thereby contributing to coronary endothelial dysfunction in T2D mice.


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February 15, 2018