We investigated the mechanism of interleukin-6 (IL-6) synthesis induced by tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF) in osteoblast-like MC3T3-E1 cells. TNF stimulated the synthesis of IL-6 dose dependently in the range between 1 and 30 ng/ml. Staurosporine and calphostin C, inhibitors of protein kinase C (PKC), significantly enhanced the TNF-induced synthesis of IL-6. 1-Oleoyl-2- acetylglycerol, a specific activator of PKC, inhibited the TNF-induced IL-6 synthesis. The stimulative effect of TNF was markedly increased in the PKC down-regulated cells. TNF produced diacylglycerol. TNF had little effect on the formation of inositol phosphates and choline. On the contrary, TNF significantly stimulated the formation of phosphocholine dose dependently. D- 609, an inhibitor of phosphatidylcholine-specific phospholipase C, suppressed the TNF-induced diacylglycerol production. The TNF-induced IL-6 synthesis was significantly enhanced by D-609. TNF induced sphingomyelin hydrolysis. Neither C2-ceramide nor sphingosine but sphingosine 1-phosphate significantly stimulated the synthesis of IL-6. PKC down-regulation amplified the IL-6 synthesis by sphingosine 1-phosphate. These results strongly suggest that sphingosine 1-phosphate may act as a second messenger for TNF-induced IL-6 synthesis and that TNF autoregulates IL-6 synthesis due to PKC activation via phosphatidylcholine-specific phospholipase C in osteoblast- like cells.
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