Adipokine regulation of colon cancer: adiponectin attenuates interleukin-6-induced colon carcinoma cell proliferation via STAT-3

Mol Carcinog. 2010 Jul;49(7):700-9. doi: 10.1002/mc.20644.


Obesity results in increased circulating levels of specific adipokines, which are associated with colon cancer risk. The disease state is associated with increased leptin, insulin, IGF-1, and IL-6. Conversely, adiponectin levels are decreased in obese individuals. Previously, we demonstrated adipokine-enhanced cell proliferation in preneoplastic, but not normal, colon epithelial cells, demonstrating a differential effect of adipokines on colon cancer progression in vitro. Using a model of late stage carcinoma cancer cell, namely murine MC-38 colon carcinoma cells, we compared the effect of obesity-associated adipokines (leptin, insulin, IGF-1, and IL-6) on MC-38 cell proliferation and determined whether adiponectin (full length or globular) could modulate adipokine-induced cell proliferation. We show that insulin and IL-6, but not leptin and IGF-1, induce proliferation in MC-38 cells. Adiponectin treatment of MC-38 cells did not inhibit insulin-induced cell proliferation but did inhibit IL-6-induced cell proliferation by decreasing STAT-3 phosphorylation and activation. Nitric oxide (NO) production was increased in MC-38 cells treated with IL-6; co-treatment with adiponectin blocked IL-6-induced iNOS and subsequent NO production. These data are compared to previously reported findings from our laboratory using the YAMC (model normal colon epithelial cells) and IMCE (model preneoplastic) cells. The cell lines are utilized to construct a model summarizing the hormonal consequences of obesity and the impact on the differential regulation of colon epithelial cells along the continuum to carcinoma. These data, taken together, highlight mechanisms involved in obesity-associated cancers and may lead to potential-targeted therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipokines / metabolism*
  • Adiponectin / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Carcinoma / chemically induced
  • Carcinoma / etiology
  • Carcinoma / metabolism*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Colonic Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Colonic Neoplasms / etiology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism*
  • Leptin / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / metabolism*


  • Adipokines
  • Adiponectin
  • Insulin
  • Interleukin-6
  • Leptin
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I