IL-6 is produced by adipose-derived stromal cells and promotes osteogenesis

Jeong Eun Huh, Soo Young Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Although Toll-like receptors (TLRs) have been implicated in the regulation of stem cell functions, their role in osteogenic differentiation of adipose-derived stromal cells (ASCs) has not been reported. We found that ASCs express a restricted subset of TLRs, including TLR1-TLR5, and that TLR agonists such as Pam3CSK4 (TLR1/2 agonist), polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (TLR3 agonist), lipopolysaccharide (TLR4 agonist), and flagellin (TLR5 agonist), but not R848 (TLR7/8 agonist), consistently induced osteogenic differentiation in murine-derived ASCs, which coincided with the TLR expression pattern of ASCs. Cytokine expression profiles induced by TLR agonists and results from subsequent functional assays indicated that interleukin-6 (IL-6) together with soluble IL-6 receptor (sIL-6R) enhanced osteogenic differentiation of ASCs by activating STAT3. Small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated STAT3-silencing blunted osteogenesis and the expression of osteogenic markers, whereas STAT3 overexpression resulted in an increase in osteogenesis. Consistently, STAT3 inhibitor treatment reduced osteogenesis, STAT3 phosphorylation, and expression of osteogenic markers including osterix. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays indicated that STAT3 binding to the STAT3-binding sites on the osterix promoter increased during IL-6-stimulated osteogenesis. Our results thus establish TLRs as novel regulators of ASCs which signal through IL-6/STAT3 pathway and induce osterix expression as a part of the osteogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2608-2616
Number of pages9
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea Government (MSIP ; No. 2013R1A2A1A05005153 ; R31-2008-000-10010-0 ; No. 2012R1A5A1048236 ; No. 2012M3A9C5048708 ). J.H. was supported by the second stage of the Brain Korea 21 Project .


  • Adipose-derived stromal cell
  • IL-6
  • Osteogenesis
  • Osterix
  • STAT3
  • TLR


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