Soluble gp130 (sgp130) is a soluble circulating receptor of IL-6 with "antagonistic" biologic activity. It is generated independently by either shedding of the extracellular domain of membrane gp130 or alternative mRNA splicing. This study was addressed to clarify the mechanisms underlying sgp130 synthesis and release in patients who undergo regular dialysis treatment (RDT) using dialytic membranes with different biocompatibility. Two groups of RDT patients were enrolled: 11 patients who were treated with cellulosic membranes (C) and 10 patients who were treated with synthetic membranes (S). Ten healthy subjects constituted the control group. Serum samples and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were harvested in all groups (before dialysis in RDT patients). PBMC were cultured for 24 h in the absence or presence of LPS. The serum levels of sgp130 were significantly higher in C group than in control and S patients (C, 603.1 ± 89.9; control, 396 ± 49.5; S, 423.4 ± 27.7 ng/ml; P <0.01). PBMC from C patients, in the absence of any mitogenic stimulation, released a significantly greater amount of sgp130 as compared with S and control groups (C, 532.6 ± 161.2; S, 332.4 ± 148.6; control, 341.4 ± 125.4 pg/ml; P <0.01). The sgp130 release was positively correlated with the release of both IL-6 (r = 0.336, P <0.05) and sIL-6R receptor (r = 0.324, P <0.05). A significantly higher gp130 gene expression was also observed in unstimulated PBMC from C patients when compared with control and S groups. It is interesting that the expression of the 85-bp exon characteristic of the alternative splicing mRNA for sgp130 was low in all groups. Finally, confocal microscopy analysis showed an increased expression of gp130 on cell surface in unstimulated PBMC from C patients as compared with control and S groups. Our results demonstrate that in patients on RDT with C membranes, the synthesis and release of sgp130 "antagonistic" receptor is significantly increased. This release is seemingly due to a shedding of membrane-bound gp130 receptor. The increased sgp130 release may partially counteract the inflammatory effects caused by IL-6.
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