This study was performed to investigate the aspects of interleukin-6 (IL-6) production in both the gingival tissue and the peripheral blood of patients with periodontal disease and of periodontally healthy subjects. In addition, IL-6 expression in human gingival tissues was studied by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis and by immunoperoxidase staining with anti-IL-6 monoclonal antibody. The levels of IL-6 in the culture supernatants from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) stimulated with lipopolysaccharide and in serum were examined by bioassay. We detected IL-6 mRNA expression in all inflamed gingival tissues (17/17) examined and in 2/4 in healthy gingival tissues. IL-6 protein was detected mainly in endothelial cells, fibroblasts, and macrophages but not in the area containing T or B cells in the inflamed gingival tissues, and was not detected at all in healthy gingival tissues. There was no significant difference between the subjects with periodontal disease and those with healthy gingival tissues either in serum IL-6 levels or in the amount of IL-6 produced by PBMC. These results suggest that non-lymphoid cells in inflamed gingival tissue may contribute to the pathogenesis of periodontal disease via IL-6 production, and that the IL-6 produced in gingival tissue may not reflect the IL-6 levels in peripheral blood.
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