Interleukin-6 (IL-6) Trans Signaling Drives a STAT3-dependent Pathway That Leads to Hyperactive Transforming Growth Factor-β (TGF-β) Signaling Promoting SMAD3 Activation and Fibrosis via Gremlin Protein

Steven O'Reilly, Marzena Ciechomska, Rachel Cant, Jacob M. Van Laar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Fibrosis is a common and intractable condition associated with various pathologies. It is characterized by accumulation of an excessive amount of extracellular matrix molecules that primarily include collagen type I. IL-6 is a profibrotic cytokine that is elevated in the prototypic fibrotic autoimmune condition systemic sclerosis and is known to induce collagen I expression, but the mechanism(s) behind this induction are currently unknown. Using healthy dermal fibroblasts in vitro, we analyzed the signaling pathways that underscore the IL-6-mediated induction of collagen. We show that IL-6 trans signaling is important and that the effect is dependent on STAT3; however, the effect is indirect and mediated through enhanced TGF-β signaling and the classic downstream cellular mediator Smad3. This is due to induction of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) antagonist Gremlin-1, and we show that Gremlin-1 is profibrotic and is mediated through canonical TGF-β signaling.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9952-9960
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume289
Issue number14
Early online date18 Feb 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2014

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