Interleukin-6 stimulates lipolysis and fat oxidation in humans

Gerrit Van Hall, Adam Steensberg, Massimo Sacchetti, Christian Fischer, Charlotte Keller, Peter Schjerling, Natalie Hiscock, Kirsten Møller, Bengt Saltin, Mark A. Febbraio, Bente K. Pedersen

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Although IL-6 is a key modulator of immune function, it also plays a role in regulating substrate metabolism. To determine whether IL-6 affects lipid metabolism, 18 healthy men were infused for 3 h with saline (Con; n = 6) or a high dose (High-rhIL6; n = 6) or a low dose (Low-rhIL6; n = 6) of recombinant human IL-6 (rhIL-6). The IL-6 concentration during Con, Low-rhIL6, and High-rhIL6 was at a steady state after 30 min of infusion at approximately 4, 140, and 320 pg/ml, respectively. Either dose of rhIL-6 was associated with a similar increase in fatty acid (FA) concentration and endogenous FA rate of appearance (Ra) from 90 min after the start of the infusion. The FA concentration and FA Ra continued to increase until the cessation of rhIL-6 infusion, reaching levels approximately 50% greater than Con values. The elevated levels reached at the end of rhIL-6 infusion persisted at least 3 h postinfusion. Triacylglycerol concentrations were unchanged during rhIL-6 infusion, whereas whole body fat oxidation increased after the second hour of rhIL-6 infusion. Of note, during Low-rhIL6, the induced elevation in FA concentration and FA Ra occurred in the absence of any change in adrenaline, insulin, or glucagon, and no adverse side effects were observed. In conclusion, the data identify IL-6 as a potent modulator of fat metabolism in humans, increasing fat oxidation and FA reesterification without causing hypertriacylglyceridemia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3005-3010
Number of pages6
JournalThe Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2003
Externally publishedYes

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