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Title page for ETD etd-05242017-183604

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Echevarria, Franklin Daniel
URN etd-05242017-183604
Title Role of Interleukin-6 in Health and Disease of Retinal Ganglion Cells
Degree PhD
Department Neuroscience
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
David Calkins Committee Chair
Alissa Weaver Committee Member
Christine Konradi Committee Member
Fiona Harrison Committee Member
Rebecca Sappington Committee Member
  • interleukin-6
  • cytokines
  • neuroinflammation
  • neurodegeneration
  • retinal disease
  • glaucoma
  • retinal ganglion cells
Date of Defense 2017-04-19
Availability unrestricted
Neuroinflammation is defined as inflammation that occurs in the central nervous system (CNS) and is characterized by cytokine release and glial reactivity. Previous efforts indicate that neuroinflammation is involved in many facets of the CNS, including development, homeostatic maintenance, and degeneration in response to injury and disease. Elucidating how specific cytokines are involved in these facets is important for the development of new therapies as well as expanding our knowledge of how the CNS develops, functions, and responds to stress. Using the optic projection as a model of the CNS, this thesis investigates how the cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6): 1) contributes to the constitutive development and function of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and 2) impacts degeneration of RGCs in response to glaucoma-related stressors (i.e. ocular hypertension). Our data indicate that IL-6 signaling is necessary for proper development and function of RGC axons, yet facilitates axon degeneration and vision loss in response to ocular hypertension. The apparent switch of IL-6 from a constructive signal to a destructive signal correlates with elevations in the soluble isoform of the IL-6 receptor (sIL-6Rα), an isoform that is linked to degeneration within and outside the CNS.
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