Effects of interleukin-6 on the expression of tight junction proteins in isolated cerebral microvessels from yearling and adult sheep

Susan S. Cohen, May Min, Erin E. Cummings, Xiaodi Chen, Grazyna B. Sadowska, Surendra Sharma, Barbara S. Stonestreet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Objectives: The blood-brain barrier is a selective diffusion barrier between brain parenchyma and the intravascular compartment. Tight junctions are integral components of the blood-brain barrier. Pro-inflammatory cytokines are important in the pathogenesis of brain injury and could modify the protein constituents of tight junctions. We hypothesized that interleukin-6 (IL-6) downregulates key protein constituents of endothelial tight junctions (e.g. occludin and claudin-5). Methods: We examined the effects of IL-6 on tight junction protein expression using an in vitro blood-brain barrier model. We isolated microvessels from yearling and adult ovine cerebral cortex and placed them into culture with IL-6 concentrations of 0 (control, phosphate-buffered saline), 1, 10, and 100 ngml for 24 h. Cerebral microvessels were harvested, Western immunoblot performed for occludin and claudin-5, densitometry performed, and results expressed as a ratio to control values. Results: Western immunoblot analysis showed that treatment with 100 ngml of IL-6, but not the lower concentrations, reduced (p < 0.05) occludin expression in microvessels from yearling and adult sheep and claudin-5 in microvessels from adult sheep. However, treatment with 10 ngml of IL-6 increased claudin-5 in microvessels from yearling sheep. The percent of lactate dehydrogenase released from the microvessels into the surrounding media was not increased by IL-6 treatment, suggesting that the reductions in tight junction proteins did not result from cell death. Treatment of adult cerebral cortical microvessels with IL-6 preincubated with anti-IL-6 monoclonal antibodies partially attenuated the reduction in claudin-5. Conclusion: We conclude that IL-6 modulates tight junction protein expression in cerebral cortical microvessels from yearling and adult sheep.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-273
Number of pages10
JournalUnknown Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Endocrinology
  • Neurology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems


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