Interleukin-6-deficient mice develop mature-onset obesity

Nat Med. 2002 Jan;8(1):75-9. doi: 10.1038/nm0102-75.


The immune-modulating cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) is expressed both in adipose tissue and centrally in hypothalamic nuclei that regulate body composition. We investigated the impact of loss of IL-6 on body composition in mice lacking the gene encoding IL-6 (Il6-/- mice) and found that they developed mature-onset obesity that was partly reversed by IL-6 replacement. The obese Il6-/- mice had disturbed carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, increased leptin levels and decreased responsiveness to leptin treatment. To investigate the possible mechanism and site of action of the anti-obesity effect of IL-6, we injected rats centrally and peripherally with IL-6 at low doses. Intracerebroventricular, but not intraperitoneal IL-6 treatment increased energy expenditure. In conclusion, centrally acting IL-6 exerts anti-obesity effects in rodents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Body Composition
  • Corticosterone / blood
  • Eating / physiology
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Injections, Intraventricular
  • Interleukin-6 / deficiency*
  • Interleukin-6 / genetics
  • Interleukin-6 / pharmacology
  • Leptin / blood
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Sex Factors


  • Blood Glucose
  • Interleukin-6
  • Leptin
  • Lipids
  • Corticosterone