Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 241–251

Neuroprotection of Interleukin-6 Against NMDA-induced Neurotoxicity is Mediated by JAK/STAT3, MAPK/ERK, and PI3K/AKT Signaling Pathways

Original Research


We have previously shown that interleukin-6 (IL-6) has neuroprotective effect against N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA)-induced excitotoxicity. The current study aimed to reveal signal transduction pathways involved in the IL-6 neuroprotection. Cerebellar granule neurons (CGNs) from postnatal 8-day infant rats were exposed to IL-6 (120 ng/ml) for 8 days and stimulated with NMDA (100 μM) for 15 or 30 min. Dynamic intracellular Ca2+ fluorescence intensity, cytosolic Ca2+-dependent phospholipase A2 (cPLA2) expression, and apoptosis and necrosis in cultured CGNs were measured by laser scanning confocal microscope, real-time PCR and Western blot, and annexin V-FITC/propidium iodide staining, respectively. NMDA stimulation of neurons evoked an intracellular Ca2+ overload, an upregulated expression of cPLA2, and an increase in cell death. Chronic IL-6 exposure prevented the NMDA-evoked neuronal Ca2+ overload, cPLA2 expression upregulation, and apoptosis and necrosis. Anti-gp130 monoclonal antibody (mAb), a blocker of gp130 that is a 130-kDa signal-transducing β-subunit of IL-6 receptor complex, blocked these effects of IL-6 preventing NMDA neurotoxicity. AG490, PD98059, or LY294002, inhibitors specific for the intracellular signals, JAK, MAPK, and PI3K, respectively, partially blocked these IL-6 neuroprotective effects. Phosphorylation levels of STAT3, ERK1/2, and AKT, the downstream proteins for these enzymes of JAK, MAPK, and PI3K, respectively, were elevated by IL-6 pretreatment. The enhanced activation of STAT3, ERK1/2, and AKT by IL-6 was abolished by AG490, PD98059, and LY294002, respectively. Anti-gp130 mAb attenuated the activation of all the three detected signaling molecules. The present findings suggest that IL-6 neuroprotection is jointly mediated by the cellular signal transduction pathways, gp130-JAK-STAT3, gp130-MAPK-ERK, and gp130-PI3K-AKT.


IL-6 Cerebellar granule neurons NMDA Ca2+ overload cPLA2 Gp130 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physiology, School of MedicineNantong UniversityNantongChina

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