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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 …
Contributors PF-V contributed with the formulation of the hypothesis, design, laboratory experiments, analysis of results, preparation of graphics and manuscript writing. FZ contributed with the formulation of the hypothesis, design, laboratory experiments (ELISA) and manuscript revision. LS contributed with the formulation of the hypothesis, design and manuscript revision.
Funding Stiftelsen Sällskapet Barnavård, Stiftelsen Frimurare Barnhuset i Stockholm and Vetenskapsrådet grant. Grant number: Swedish Research Council grant K2010-54X-15073-07-3.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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