The effect of interleukin-6 and the interleukin-6 receptor on glucose transport in mouse skeletal muscle

S.R. Gray, A. Ratkevicius, H. Wackerhage, P. Coats, M.A. Nimmo

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Exercise results in an increase in interleukin-6 (IL-6), its receptor (IL-6R) and skeletal muscle glucose transport. Interleukin-6 has been found to have equivocal effects on glucose transport, with no studies, to our knowledge, investigating any potential role of IL-6R. In the present study, we hypothesized that a combined preparation of IL-6 and soluble IL-6R (sIL-6R) would stimulate glucose transport. Mouse soleus muscles were incubated with physiological and supraphysiological concentrations of IL-6 and a combination of IL-6 and sIL-6R. Total and phosphorylated AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and Protein Kinase B (PKB/Akt) were also measured by Western blotting. Exposure to both physiological (80 pg ml(-1)) and supraphysiological IL-6 (120 ng ml(-1)) had no effect on glucose transport. At physiological levels, exposure to a combination of IL-6 and sIL-6R (32 ng ml(-1)) resulted in a 1.4-fold increase (P < 0.05) in basal glucose transport with no change to the phosphorylation of AMPK. Exposure to supraphysiological levels of IL-6 and sIL-6R (120 ng ml(-1)) resulted in an approximately twofold increase (P < 0.05) in basal glucose transport and an increase (P < 0.05) in AMPK phosphorylation. No effect of IL-6 or sIL-6R was observed on insulin-stimulated glucose transport. These findings demonstrate that, while IL-6 alone does not stimulate glucose transport in mouse soleus muscle, when sIL-6R is introduced glucose transport is directly stimulated, partly through AMPK-dependent signalling.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)899-905
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental Physiology
Issue number8
Early online date29 May 2009
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2009


  • necrosis-factor-alpha
  • activated protein-kinase
  • subcutaneous adipose-tissue
  • insulin sensitivitiy
  • in-vitro
  • soluble receptors
  • lipid-metabolism
  • healthy-subjects
  • plasma il-6
  • resistance

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