Interleukin-6 attenuates insulin-mediated increases in endothelial cell signaling but augments skeletal muscle insulin action via differential effects on tumor necrosis factor-α expression

Derek Y.C. Yuen, Renee M. Dwyer, Vance B. Matthews, Lei Zhang, Brian G. Drew, Bronwyn Neill, Bronwyn A. Kingwell, Michael G. Clark, Stephen Rattigan, Mark A. Febbraio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE-The cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) stimulates AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and insulin signaling in skeletal muscle, both of which result in the activation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). We hypothesized that IL-6 promotes endothelial cell signaling and capillary recruitment in vivo, contributing to increased glucose uptake. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS-The effect of IL-6 with and without insulin on AMPK, insulin, and eNOS signaling in and nitric oxide (NO) release from human aortic endothelial cells (HAECs) was examined. The physiological significance of these in vitro signaling events was assessed by measuring capillary recruitment in rats during control and euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamps with or without IL-6 infusion. RESULTS-IL-6 blunted increases in insulin signaling, eNOS phosphorylation (Ser1177), and NO production and reduced phos- phorylation of AMPK in HAEC in vitro and capillary recruitment in vivo. In contrast, IL-6 increased Akt phosphorylation (Ser473) in hindlimb skeletal muscle and enhanced whole-body glucose disappearance and glucose uptake during the clamp. The differences in endothelial cell and skeletal muscle signaling were mediated by the cell-specific, additive effects of IL-6 and insulin because this treatment markedly increased tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-a protein expression in HAECs without any effect on TNF-α in skeletal muscle. When HAECs were incubated with a TNF-a-neutralizing antibody, the negative effects of IL-6 on eNOS signaling were abolished. CONCLUSIONS-In the presence of insulin, IL-6 contributes to aberrant endothelial cell signaling because of increased TNF-α expression. Diabetes 58:1086-1095, 2009

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1086-1095
Number of pages10
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2009
Externally publishedYes

Cite this