Survival pathways in hypertrophy and heart failure: the gp130-STAT3 axis.
Circulating levels of interleukin (IL)-6 and related cytokines are elevated in patients with congestive heart failure and after myocardial infarction. Serum IL-6 concentrations are related to decreasing functional status of these patients and provide important prognostic information.Moreover, in the failing human heart, multiple components of the IL-6-glycoprotein (gp)130 receptor system are impaired, implicating an important role of this system in cardiac pathophysiology.Experimental studies have shown that the common receptor subunit of IL-6 cytokines is phosphorylated in response to pressure overload and myocardial infarction and that it subsequently activates at least three different downstream signaling pathways, the signal transducers and activators of transcription 1 and 3 (STAT1/3), the Src-homology tyrosine phosphatase 2 (SHP2)-Ras-ERK, and the PI3K-Akt system. Gp130 receptor mediated signaling promotes cardiomyocyte survival, induces hypertrophy, modulates cardiac extracellular matrix and cardiac function. In this regard, the gp130 receptor system and its main downstream mediator STAT3 play a key role in cardioprotection. This review summarizes the current knowledge of IL-6 cytokines, gp130 receptor and STAT3 signaling in the heart exposed to physiological (aging, pregnancy) and pathophysiological stress (ischemia, pressure overload, inflammation and cardiotoxic agents) with a special focus on the potential role of individual IL-6 cytokines.