IL-6 mediates ER expansion during hyperpolarization of alternatively activated macrophages
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Although recent evidence has shown that IL-6 is involved in enhanced alternative activation of macrophages toward a profibrotic phenotype, the mechanisms leading to their increased secretory capacity are not fully understood. Here, we investigated the effect of IL-6 on endoplasmic reticulum (ER) expansion and alternative activation of macrophages in vitro. An essential mediator in this ER expansion process is the IRE1 pathway, which possesses a kinase and endoribonuclease domain to cleave XBP1 into a spliced bioactive molecule. To investigate the IRE1-XBP1 expansion pathway, IL-4/IL-13 and IL-4/IL-13/IL-6-mediated alternative programming of murine bone marrow-derived and human THP1 macrophages were assessed by arginase activity in cell lysates, CD206 and arginase-1 expression by flow cytometry, and secreted CCL18 by ELISA, respectively. Ultrastructural intracellular morphology and ER biogenesis were examined by transmission electron microscopy and immunofluorescence. Transcription profiling of 128 genes were assessed by NanoString and Pharmacological inhibition of the IRE1-XBP1 arm was achieved using STF-083010 and was verified by RT-PCR. The addition of IL-6 to the conventional alternative programming cocktail IL-4/IL-13 resulted in increased ER and mitochondrial expansion, profibrotic profiles and unfolded protein response-mediated induction of molecular chaperones. IRE1-XBP1 inhibition substantially reduced the IL-6-mediated hyperpolarization and normalized the above effects. In conclusion, the addition of IL-6 enhances ER expansion and the profibrotic capacity of IL-4/IL-13-mediated activation of macrophages. Therapeutic strategies targeting IL-6 or the IRE1-XBP1 axis may be beneficial to prevent the profibrotic capacity of macrophages.
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