Interleukin6 prevents ischemia-induced learning disability and neuronal and synaptic loss in gerbils
Interleukin-6 (IL-6) has been shown to have potent neurotrophic activity on peripheral and central neurons in vitro. However, it remains to be determined whether or not IL-6 rescues hippocampal CA1 neurons from lethal ischemia and prevents ischemia-induced learning disability. In the present in vivo study, we infused IL-6 continuously for 7 days into the lateral ventricle of gerbil starting 2 h before 3-min forebrain ischemia. IL-6 infusion prevented the occurrence of ischemia-induced learning disability in a dose-dependent manner as revealed by a step-down passive avoidance task. Subsequent light and electron microscopic examinations showed that pyramidal neurons in the CA1 region of the hippocampus as well as synapses within the strata moleculare, radiatum and oriens of the region were significantly more numerous in gerbils infused with IL-6 than in those receiving vehicle infusion. These findings suggest that IL-6 has a trophic effect on ischemic hippocampal neurons.