Interleukin-6 induces vascular endothelial growth factor-C expression via Src-FAK-STAT3 signaling in lymphatic endothelial cells

Yu Han Huang, Hung Yu Yang, Shiu Wen Huang, George Ou, Ya Fen Hsu, Ming Jen Hsu

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Elevated serum interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels correlates with tumor grade and poor prognosis in cancer patients. IL-6 has been shown to promote tumor lymphangiogenesis through vascular endothelial growth factor-C (VEGF-C) induction in tumor cells. We recently showed that IL-6 also induced VEGF-C expression in lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs). However, the signaling mechanisms involved in IL-6-induces VEGF-C induction in LECs remain incompletely understood. In this study, we explored the causal role of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) in inducing VEGF-C expression in IL-6-stimulated murine LECs (SV-LECs). FAK signaling blockade by NSC 667249 (a FAK inhibitor) attenuated IL-6-induced VEGF-C expression and VEGF-C promoter-luciferase activities. IL-6's enhancing effects of increasing FAK, ERK1/2, p38MAPK, C/EBPβ, p65 and STAT3 phosphorylation as well as C/EBPβ-, κB- and STAT3-luciferase activities were reduced in the presence of NSC 667249. STAT3 knockdown by STAT3 siRNA abrogated IL-6's actions in elevating VEGF-C mRNA and protein levels. Moreover, Src-FAK signaling blockade reduced IL-6's enhancing effects of increasing STAT3 binding to the VEGF-C promoter region, cell migration and endothelial tube formation of SV-LECs. Together these results suggest that IL-6 increases VEGF-C induction and lymphangiogenesis may involve, at least in part, Src-FAK-STAT3 cascade in LECs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0158839
JournalPLoS One
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2016


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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