Peripheral nerve regeneration in Interleukin 6-deficient mice

Michelle M. Inserra, Mike Yao, Richard Murray, David J. Terris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background: Interleukin 6 (IL-6) is a multifunctional cytokine with effects on central and peripheral neurons. Objective: To investigate the role of IL-6 in peripheral nerve regeneration by comparing IL-6 knockout and wild-type mice in a sciatic nerve model of injury and repair. Design/Subjects: Forty C57/BL6 (wild-type) and 40 IL-6 knockout mice were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 groups: sham surgery, sciatic nerve crush injury, sciatic nerve transection without repair, and sciatic nerve transection with epineurial suture repair. Walking tracks were assessed preoperatively and postoperatively at 10-day intervals for 50 days by means of a previously described mouse sciatic functional index. Distal segments of the sciatic nerves were harvested at the completion of the study for histomorphometric evaluation. Results: The wild-type and knockout mice that underwent sham surgery showed similarly unimpaired function (P=.64 on day 50). The IL-6 knockout mice with the crush injury demonstrated decreased function on day 10 compared with the wild-type mice (P<.01) but completely recovered by day 40 (P=.55). Both IL-6 knockout and wild-type mice that underwent nerve transection without repair failed to recover function (P=.06 on day 50). There was no statistical difference in recovery between wild-type and IL-6 knockout mice that underwent nerve transection with epineurial suture repair (P=.30 on day 50). The morphometric data showed no significant differences in distal axon count between the wild-type and knockout mice after suture repair or crush injury (P>.32). Conclusions: The absence of IL-6 does not appear to impair peripheral nerve recovery after sciatic nerve injury. Although in vitro and in vivo studies suggest a role for IL-6 in peripheral nerve physiology, this cytokine does not appear to have a substantial effect on functional recovery in a mouse sciatic nerve injury and repair model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1112-1116
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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