Exaggerated release of proinflammatory mediators during sepsis contributes to inadequate vasodilatation and depressed myocardial contractility, which lead to development of shock and circulatory collapse. The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of IL-6 and aging on activation of intracellular signaling pathways in the myocardium induced by bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) administration.
LPS was injected intraperitoneally to male 3- and 24-month old mice with systemic IL-6 gene knock-out (IL-6KO) and the reference strain (WT). LPS was given intraperitoneally in single low (0.1 mg/kg) or high (10 mg/kg) dose, or in two doses (0.1 + 10 mg/kg) with 24-h delay. The expression and phosphorylation of STAT3, ERK1/2, Akt1/2/3 proteins in the left ventricular myocardium was evaluated after 24 h using Western blotting.
Low LPS dose induced higher STAT3 phosphorylation only in old IL-6KO mice, not affecting ERK1/2 and Akt1/2/3 phosphorylation in any group. High LPS dose upregulated STAT3 phosphorylation similarly in all groups, reduced ERK1/2 expression in young WT mice and upregulated Akt1/2/3 expression and phosphorylation in young IL-6KO mice. Pretreatment with low LPS dose attenuated phosphorylation of STAT3 in both old groups and phosphorylation of Akt1/2/3 in young IL-6KO group. Two-dose approach also significantly potentiated ERK1/2 phosphorylation in both old groups.
Obtained results show that IL-6 deficiency alters the activity of intracellular signaling pathways: JAK/STAT in old and Akt in young LPS-treated mice. This may indicate that lack of IL-6 attenuates Akt-related cytoprotective effect of pretreatment with low LPS dose in young but not in aged animals.

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