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Diabetes. 2004 Apr;53(4):1060-7.

Differential effects of interleukin-6 and -10 on skeletal muscle and liver insulin action in vivo.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8020, USA.


The circulating level of the inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-6 is elevated in various insulin-resistant states including type 2 diabetes, obesity, cancer, and HIV-associated lipodystrophy. To determine the role of IL-6 in the development of insulin resistance, we examined the effects of IL-6 treatment on whole-body insulin action and glucose metabolism in vivo during hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamps in awake mice. Pretreatment of IL-6 blunted insulin's ability to suppress hepatic glucose production and insulin-stimulated insulin receptor substrate (IRS)-2-associated phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase activity in liver. Acute IL-6 treatment also reduced insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in skeletal muscle, and this was associated with defects in insulin-stimulated IRS-1-associated PI 3-kinase activity and increases in fatty acyl-CoA levels in skeletal muscle. In contrast, we found that co-treatment of IL-10, a predominantly anti-inflammatory cytokine, prevented IL-6-induced defects in hepatic insulin action and signaling activity. Additionally, IL-10 co-treatment protected skeletal muscle from IL-6 and lipid-induced defects in insulin action and signaling activity, and these effects were associated with decreases in intramuscular fatty acyl-CoA levels. This is the first study to demonstrate that inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and IL-10 alter hepatic and skeletal muscle insulin action in vivo, and the mechanism may involve cytokine-induced alteration in intracellular fat contents. These findings implicate an important role of inflammatory cytokines in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance.

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