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J Biol Chem. 2006 Mar 17;281(11):7060-7. Epub 2006 Jan 17.

Direct cross-talk of interleukin-6 and insulin signal transduction via insulin receptor substrate-1 in skeletal muscle cells.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, Pathobiochemistry and Clinical Chemistry, University of Tübingen, Otfried-Müller-Strasse 10, D-72076 Germany.


The exercise-induced interleukin (IL)-6 production and secretion within skeletal muscle fibers has raised the question of a putative tissue-specific function of IL-6 in the energy metabolism of the muscle during and after the exercise. In the present study, we followed the hypothesis that IL-6 signaling may directly interact with insulin receptor substrate (IRS)-1, a keystone in the insulin signaling cascade. We showed that IL-6 induces a rapid recruitment of IRS-1 to the IL-6 receptor complex in cultured skeletal muscle cells. Moreover, IL-6 induced a rapid and transient phosphorylation of Ser-318 of IRS-1 in muscle cells and in muscle tissue, but not in the liver of IL-6-treated mice, probably via the IL-6-induced co-recruitment of protein kinase C-delta. This Ser-318 phosphorylation improved insulin-stimulated Akt phosphorylation and glucose uptake in myotubes since transfection with an IRS-1/Glu-318 mutant simulating a permanent phospho-Ser-318 modification increased Akt phosphorylation and glucose uptake. Noteworthily, two inhibitory mechanisms of IL-6 on insulin action, phosphorylation of the inhibitory Ser-307 residue of IRS-1 and induction of SOCS-3 expression, were only found in liver but not in muscle of IL-6-treated mice. Thus, the data provided evidence for a possible molecular mechanism of the physiological metabolic effects of IL-6 in skeletal muscle, thereby exerting short term beneficial effects on insulin action.

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