Proapoptotic and antiapoptotic actions of Stat1 versus Stat3 underlie neuroprotective and immunoregulatory functions of IL-11

Jingya Zhang, Yueting Zhang, Dipankar J. Dutta, Azeb T. Argaw, Virginie Bonnamain, Jeremy Seto, David A. Braun, Andleeb Zameer, Fernand Hayot, Carolina B. Lop̀ez, Cedric S. Raine, Gareth R. John

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Current therapies for multiple sclerosis target inflammation but do not directly address oligodendrocyte protection or myelin repair. The gp130 family cytokines ciliary neurotrophic factor, leukemia inhibitory factor, and IL-11 have been identified as oligodendrocyte growth factors, and IL-11 is also strongly immunoregulatory, but their underlying mechanisms of action are incompletely characterized. In this study, we demonstrate that these effects of IL-11 are mediated via differential regulation of apoptosis in oligodendrocytes versus Ag-presenting dendritic cells (DCs), and are dependent on lineage-specific activity of the transcription factors Stat1 versus Stat3. Focal demyelinating lesions induced in cerebral cortices of IL-11Rα-/- mice using stereotactic microinjection of lysolecithin were larger than in controls, and remyelination was delayed. In IL-11Rα-/- mice, lesions displayed extensive oligodendrocyte loss and axonal transection, and increased infiltration by inflammatory cells including CD11c+ DCs, CD3+ lymphocytes, and CD11b+ phagocytes. In oligodendrocyte progenitor cell (OPC) cultures, IL-11 restricted caspase 9 activation and apoptosis, and it increased myelination in OPC-neuron cocultures. Importantly, siRNA inhibition of Stat1 enhanced the antiapoptotic effects of IL-11 on OPCs, but IL-11 induced apoptosis in the presence of Stat3 silencing. In contrast, IL-11 augmented caspase activation and apoptosis in cultures of CD11c+ DCs, but not in CD11b+ or CD3+ cells. Inhibition of Stat3 exacerbated the proapoptotic effects of IL-11 on DCs, whereas they were ablated in Stat1-/- cultures. Collectively, these findings reveal novel mechanisms underlying the actions of a neuroprotective and immunoregulatory member of the gp130 cytokine family, suggesting avenues to enhance oligodendrocyte viability and restrict CNS inflammation in multiple sclerosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1129-1141
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011


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