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International Journal of Experimental Diabetes Research
Volume 1, Issue 4, Pages 239-248

Lack of Expression of Gp-130 Makes Pancreatic Beta Cell Lines Unresponsive to the IL-6 Family of Cytokines

1Autoimmunity and Transplantation Division, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Royal Parade, Parkville, Melbourne, Australia
2The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, P.O Royal Melbourne Hospital, Victoria 3050, Australia

Accepted 11 May 2000

Copyright © 2000 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cytokine receptors from the IL-6 receptor family are comprised of ligand specific α chains and a common signalling chain, gp-130, which is also required for high affinity binding. A cDNA library generated from the β-TC3 SV40 T-antigen transformed insulinoma cell line was screened for members of this receptor family potentially relevant to both beta cell development and autoimmunity. Degenerate oligonucleotide primers to a consensus region of these receptors were used and the IL-11 receptor (α chain was identified. Despite confirmation of IL-11 receptor mRNA expression, iodinated bioactive IL-11 did not bind specifically to β-TC3 cells and gp-130-dependent cytokines did not elicit signalling events in beta cell lines. This was explained by absence of gp-130 protein or mRNA in the beta cell lines tested and in primary islets. We conclude from these resuits that the previously recognised effects of IL-6 family member cytokines on pancreatic islets must be indirect via other non-beta cells within the islet, rather than due to direct effects on beta cells themselves.