Some studies suggest that estrogen acts on bone by decreasing the production of interleukin-6 (IL-6), a cytokine that increases bone resorption, by osteoblasts or bone marrow cells. However, other studies have not confirmed this, possibly because of a low and variable number of estrogen receptors (ER) in the model systems used. Thus, we employed a recently developed human fetal osteoblast cell line with high levels of ER. Treatment (n = 4 experiments) with 0.01 to 10 nM of 17β-estradiol had no effect on the constitutive production of IL-6. However, stimulated production, induced by treatment with IL-1β plus tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), was reduced in a dose-dependent manner to 74 ± 3% (mean ± SEM) of control (p < 0.01). This response was blocked by cotreatment with the type II antiestrogeu ICI 182,780. Treatment with hydrocortisone (1 μM), a known inhibitor of IL-6 production in many cell types, reduced IL-6 production to 17 ± 1% of control (p < 0.001). As assessed by Northern analysis, treatment (n = 3 experiments) with 0.01-10 nM of 17β-estradiol decreased steady-state levels of IL-6 mRNA in a dose-dependent manner. These data support the hypothesis that at least part of the antiresorptive action of estrogen in humans is mediated by decreased production of IL-6 by osteoblastic cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine