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Acta Physiol (Oxf). 2008 Jan;192(1):37-48. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-1716.2007.01779.x.

Role of interleukin-6 signalling in glucose and lipid metabolism.

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Section of Integrative Physiology, Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


Derangements in whole body glucose and lipid metabolism, accompanied by insulin resistance, are key features of obesity and the metabolic syndrome. A role for inflammation as a causative factor is an emerging concept in the field of metabolic disease. Research has centred on identifying important inflammatory markers, and tumour necrosis factor-alpha has been highlighted as a key mediator of insulin resistance, as well as interleukin-6 (IL-6). A parallel ongoing endeavour is the unravelling of molecular mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of physical exercise on whole body glucose and lipid metabolism. Release of IL-6 from the contracting skeletal muscle has been proposed to be one of the molecular signals promoting the beneficial exercise-induced effects. These two opposing views of IL-6 underscore that the role of IL-6 in whole body physiology is incompletely resolved. This review aims at summarizing the current data on mechanisms by which IL-6 may impact on glucose and lipid metabolism.

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