An integrative approach to the effect of interleukin-6 on adaptation to restraint stress in rats

Viljoen, Monet (Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2009-12)

Thesis (MSc (Physiological Sciences))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Bi-directional communication exists between HPA-axis activation and interleukin-6 (IL-6). However, the relative contribution of centrally versus peripherally secreted IL- 6 remains unclear, especially under psychological stress conditions. We hypothesised that the HPA response to mild psychological stress is dependent on IL- 6, both centrally and peripherally. 120 male Wistar rats were divided into four groups, depending on whether they received an anti-IL-6 antibody (Ab) (2μg/ml/kg body weight) or a placebo (sterile saline) injection and whether or not they were subjected to 1 hour of restraint stress for 1, 2 or 3 days. Rats were euthanized 24 hours after stress exposure. Plasma corticosteroid (GC) levels remained significantly increased 24 hours after a single stress exposure (control placebo (CP) versus stress placebo (SP): p < 0.05). The undetectable plasma IL-6 levels evident across all groups may be explained by the short half-life of IL-6. Plasma IL-1β levels decreased when IL-6 was blocked in unstressed animals (CP versus CAb: p < 0.05), suggesting a role for IL-6 in the maintenance of IL-1β levels under tonic physiological conditions. At tissue level, pituitary gland mass increased significantly at time point 2, independently of stress when blocking IL-6 (CAb: p < 0.05). This suggests that when normal homeostasis is threatened, immediate adaption or at least compensation may occur. It was observed that GR, IL-1β, IL-1βR, IL-6, IL-6R and GABAARα1 showed no response to stress alone in the pituitary. It is therefore more likely that resistance to adaptation exists centrally. IL-1β and IL-1βR (p < 0.05) and GABAARα1 (p < 0.005) expression increased in the CAb group in the pituitary, again suggesting a role for IL-6 under control conditions. In terms of the adrenal, blocking IL-6 resulted in decreased glandular mass at time point 1, independent of stress (CAb and SAb: p < 0.005). The up-regulation in GR expression seen in CAb and SAb (p < 0.05) may be the effect of a compensatory mechanism to increase IL-6 dependent bioactivity of GCs. The fact that expression of IL-6, IL-6R, IL-1β and IL- 1βR consistently increased in the Ab groups, and mostly in the zona fasciculata and zona reticularis, suggests that lack of local direct negative cytokine feedback occurred in response to very low plasma IL-6 levels and that this contributes more than GCs in the down-regulation of inflammatory cytokine release. In conclusion, consistent effects of the Ab were apparent in the tissues investigated, even in control conditions, suggesting that IL-6 plays a role in the maintenance of basal homeostasis, including its regulation of the response to psychological stress. We found differential regulation in terms of cytokines and GCs when comparing peripheral versus central effects of stress and Ab, as well as the levels of cytokines in the blood compartment, compared to within tissues.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Daar bestaan twee-rigting kommunikasie tussen HPA-as aktivering en interleukin-6 (IL-6), allhoewel die relatiewe bydrae van sentraal versus perifeer afgeskeide IL-6 nog onduidelik is, veral gedurende sielkundige strestoestande. Ons hipotese is dat die HPA reaksie tot sielkundige stres afhanklik van IL-6 is, beide sentraal en in die periferie. 120 manlike Wistar rotte is in vier groepe verdeel, afhangende van of hulle ‘n anti-IL- 6 teenliggaampie (Ab) (2μg/ml/kg liggaamsgewig) of ‘n plasebo (steriele soutoplossing) inspuiting gekry het, en of hulle onderworpe was aan 1 uur van vaskeer-stres vir 1, 2 of 3 dae. Rotte is 24 uur na blootstelling aan stres aan genadedood onderwerp. Bloed kortikosteroïed (GC) vlakke het beduidend toegeneem binne 24 uur na ‘n eenmalige stres blootstelling (kontrole plasebo (CP) versus stres plasebo (SP): p < 0.05). Die onmeetbaar lae vlakke van IL-6 regoor al die groepe, kan verduidelik word na aanleiding van die kort half-leeftyd van IL-6. Bloed IL-1β vlakke het afgeneem in kontrole rotte wanneer IL-6 geblok is (CP versus CAb: p < 0.05). Dit kan beteken dat IL-6 noodsaaklik is vir die onderhoud van IL-1β vlakke gedurende basale toestande. Op weefselvlak het die hipofise massa toegeneem by tydpunt 2 toe IL-6 geblok is, onafhanklik van stres (CAb: p < 0.05). Dit dui aan dat wanneer normale homeostase bedreig word, daar onmiddelike aanpassing of kompensasie plaasvind. Dit is opvallend dat GR, IL-1β, IL-1βR, IL-6, IL-6R en GABAARα1 geen respons in terme van stres alleen in die hipofise getoon het nie. Na aanleiding daarvan is dit meer waarskynlik dat weerstand tot aanpassing sentraal bestaan. IL-1β and IL-1βR (p <0.05) en GABAARα1 (p < 0.005) uitdrukking in die hipofise het toegeneem in die CAb groep, wat weereens ‘n rol vir IL-6 onder kontrole toestande uitwys. In terme van die bynier, het die blok van IL-6 ‘n afname in massa veroorsaak by tydpunt 1, wat weer onafhanklik van stres was (CAb en SAb: p < 0.005). Die opregulering in die CAb en SAb groepe (p < 0.05), kan wees as gevolg van ‘n kompensasie meganisme om IL-6 afhanklike GC aktiwiteit te verhoog. Die feit dat die uitdrukking van IL-6, IL-6R, IL-1β and IL-1βR in die Ab groepe deurlopend verhoog was, en meeste in die zona fasciculata en zona reticularis, stel voor dat daar ‘n tekort aan plaaslike, direkte sitokien negatiewe terugvoering was, as gevolg van die merkwaardige lae bloed IL-6 vlakke en dat dit meer bydra as GCs in die afregulering van inflammatoriese sitokien vrystelling.

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