, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 399-402
Date: 10 Dec 2009

IL6 as a mediator of insulin resistance: fat or fiction?

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The role IL6 plays in obesity and insulin resistance remains controversial even after many years of research. Circulating levels of IL6 are increased in obesity [1, 2], consistent with the view that obesity is characterised by a state of chronic, low-grade inflammation [3]. Accordingly, it has traditionally been proposed that IL6 contributes to the pathogenesis of insulin resistance in these disease states [4]. Like leptin, the major source of systemic IL6 (at rest) is adipose tissue, and as such reducing fat mass in obesity reduces both circulating leptin and IL6 [1, 5]. Whether the positive correlation between IL6 and fat mass reflects a regulatory role in inflammation and insulin resistance remains to be definitively proven. There is, however, a body of evidence supporting this hypothesis, since IL6 increases insulin resistance in cultured hepatocytes and hepatoma cells [6]. In addition IL6 impairs insulin sensitivity, increases leptin production and lipolysis and decreases lipoprot ...