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Molecular vision

TGF-beta-induced interleukin-6 participates in transdifferentiation of human Tenon's fibroblasts to myofibroblasts.


PMID 19862334

Abstract

To gain a better understanding of the roles of interleukins (ILs) in subconjunctival fibrosis, we investigated their expression in transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1)-stimulated Tenon's fibroblasts and examined their association with the transdifferentiation of fibroblasts to myofibroblasts. After primary culture, fibroblasts derived from human Tenon's capsule were exposed to TGF-beta1. The expression of alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA) protein was assessed by western immunoblots and immunofluorescence. The mRNA levels of various ILs were also evaluated by multiplex reverse transcription (RT)-PCR. Using the small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) specific for IL-6 and IL-11 and the promoter deletion assay, the contributions of IL-6 and IL-11 to TGF-beta1-induced induction of alpha-SMA were determined. In human Tenon's fibroblasts, TGF-beta1 stimulated the expression of alpha-SMA protein determined by western blot analysis and also increased the mRNA levels of IL-6 and IL-11 determined by multiplex RT-PCR. On the western immunoblots and immunofluorescence, the increased expression of alpha-SMA was attenuated only by the siRNAs specific for IL-6 but not by the siRNAs specific for IL-11. When the activator protein-1 binding sites of the IL-6 promoter region were deleted, the stimulation effects of TGF-beta1 decreased. Our data show that autocrine IL-6 may participate in the TGF-beta1-induced transdifferentiation of human Tenon's fibroblasts to myofibroblasts, which is known to be an essential step for subconjunctival fibrosis.