Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) play a pivotal role in tissue remodeling and destruction in inflammation-associated diseases such as cardiovascular disease and periodontal disease. Although it is known that interleukin (IL)-6 is a key proinflamatory cytokine, it remains unclear how IL-6 regulates MMP expression by mononuclear phagocytes. Furthermore, it remains undetermined how IL-6 in combination with hyperglycemia affects MMP expression. In the present study, we investigated the regulatory effect of IL-6 alone or in combination with high glucose on MMP-1 expression by U937 mononuclear phagocytes. We found that IL-6 is a powerful stimulator for MMP-1 expression and high glucose further augmented IL-6-stimulated MMP-1 expression. We also found that high glucose, IL-6, and lipopolysaccharide act in concert to stimulate MMP-1 expression. In the studies to elucidate underlying mechanisms, the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathways were found to be required for stimulation of MMP-1 by IL-6 and high glucose. We also observed that IL-6 and high glucose stimulated the expression of c-Jun, a key subunit of AP-1 known to be essential for MMP-1 transcription. The role of c-Jun in MMP-1 expression was confirmed by the finding that suppression of c-Jun expression by RNA interference significantly inhibited MMP-1 expression. Finally, we demonstrated that similarly to U937 mononuclear phagocytes, IL-6 and high glucose also stimulated MMP-1 secretion from human primary monocytes. In conclusion, this study demonstrated that IL-6 and high glucose synergistically stimulated MMP-1 expression in mononuclear phagocytes via ERK and JNK cascades and c-Jun upregulation. J. Cell. Biochem. 110: 248–259, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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