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Cytokine. 2013 Jan;61(1):71-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2012.08.027. Epub 2012 Sep 23.

Obesity and IL-6 interact in modulating the response to endotoxemia in mice.

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Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612, United States.


Obesity is associated with elevated levels of IL-6. High IL-6 is prognostic of mortality in sepsis, while controversial data link obesity to sepsis outcome. We used Lean and diet-induced obese (DIO) WT and IL-6 KO mice to investigate the interaction between obesity and IL-6 in endotoxemia. Circulating levels of IL-6 were significantly higher in WT DIO versus WT Lean mice receiving LPS (2.5 μg/mouse, ip). Obesity lead to greater weight loss in response to LPS, with IL-6 deficiency being partially protective. Plasma TNFα, IFNγ, Galectin-3 and leptin were significantly elevated in response to LPS and were each differentially affected by obesity and/or IL-6 deficiency. Plasma Galectin-1 and adiponectin were significantly suppressed by LPS, with obesity and IL-6 deficiency modulating the response. However, LPS comparably increased IL-10 levels in each group. Leukopenia with relative neutrophilia and thrombocytopenia developed in each group after injection of LPS, with obesity and genotype affecting the kinetics, but not the magnitude, of the response. Hepatic induction of the acute-phase protein SAA by LPS was not affected by obesity or IL-6 deficiency, although baseline levels were highest in WT DIO mice. Injection of LPS significantly increased hepatic mRNA expression of PAI-1 in Lean WT and Lean KO mice, while it suppressed the high baseline levels observed in the liver of DIO WT and DIO KO mice. Thus, both IL-6 and obesity modulate the response to endotoxemia, suggesting a complex interaction that needs to be considered when evaluating the effect of obesity on the outcome of septic patients.

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