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Letter
Interleukin-6 acts locally on the growth plate to impair bone growth
  1. Paola Fernandez-Vojvodich,
  2. Farasat Zaman,
  3. Lars Sävendahl
  1. Paediatric Endocrinology Unit, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Professor Lars Sävendahl, Paediatric Endocrinology Unit, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska University Hospital Q2:08, Stockholm SE-17176, Sweden; Lars.Savendahl{at}ki.se

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A recent clinical study in mothers with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) published in this journal reported that high maternal serum levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6) are associated with low birthweight deliveries.1 Low birth weight in turn is associated with impaired growth during childhood.2 Interestingly, overexpression of IL-6 leads to reduced bone growth in mice.3 Although the systemic effects of IL-6 are well understood, any local effects on the growth plate have not yet been clarified. Aiming to study the local actions of IL-6, we isolated fetal rat metatarsal bones and cultured them ex vivo for 12 days while monitoring bone growth. When exposed to IL-6 and its soluble receptor IL-6Rα (10+100 ng/mL), growth was decreased by 21.1% compared with control (p<0.001) (figure 1A). IL-6 mainly targeted the hypertrophic growth plate zone, reducing its height by 53.7% and area by 72.6% (p<0.05 vs control; figure 1B). These data further …

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