Central deficiency of IL-6Ra in mice impairs glucose-stimulated insulin secretion

Alison D. McNeilly (Lead / Corresponding author), Adonis Yianakas, Jennifer G. Gallagher, Jamie Tarlton, Michael L. J. Ashford, Rory J. McCrimmon

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Abstract

Objective: IL-6 is an important contributor to glucose and energy homeostasis through changes in whole-body glucose disposal, insulin sensitivity, food intake and energy expenditure. However, the relative contributions of peripheral versus central IL-6 signaling to these metabolic actions are presently unclear. A conditional mouse model with reduced brain IL-6Ra expression was used to explore how blunted central IL-6 signaling alters metabolic status in lean and obese mice.

Methods: Transgenic mice with reduced levels of central IL-6 receptor alpha (IL-6Ra) (IL-6Ra KD mice) and Nestin Cre controls (Cre +/- mice) were fed standard chow or high-fat diet for 20 weeks. Obese and lean mouse cohorts underwent metabolic phenotyping with various measures of energy and glucose homeostasis determined. Glucose-stimulated insulin secretion was assessed in vivo and ex vivo in both mouse groups.

Results: IL-6Ra KD mice exhibited altered body fat mass, liver steatosis, plasma insulin, IL-6 and NEFA levels versus Cre +/- mice in a diet-dependent manner. IL-6Ra KD mice had increased food intake, higher RER, decreased energy expenditure with diminished cold tolerance compared to Cre +/- controls. Standard chow-fed IL-6Ra KD mice displayed reduced plasma insulin and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion with impaired glucose disposal and unchanged insulin sensitivity. Isolated pancreatic islets from standard chow-fed IL-6Ra KD mice showed comparable morphology and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion to Cre +/- controls. The diminished in vivo insulin secretion exhibited by IL-6Ra KD mice was recovered by blockade of autonomic ganglia.

Conclusions: This study shows that central IL-6Ra signaling contributes to glucose and energy control mechanisms by regulating food intake, energy expenditure, fuel flexibility and insulin secretion. A plausible mechanism linking central IL-6Ra signaling and pancreatic insulin secretion is through the modulation of autonomic output activity. Thus, brain IL-6 signaling may contribute to the central adaptive mechanisms engaged in response to metabolic stress.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101488
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Metabolism
Volume61
Early online date22 Apr 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

Keywords

  • Interleukin-6
  • Food intake
  • Energy expenditure
  • Insulin secretion
  • Autonomic output

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