IL-6 in diabetes and cardiovascular complications

Br J Pharmacol. 2014 Aug;171(15):3595-603. doi: 10.1111/bph.12713.


IL-6 is a pleiotropic cytokine that participates in normal functions of the immune system, haematopoiesis, metabolism, as well as in the pathogenesis of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. Both pro- and anti-inflammatory roles of IL-6 have been described, which are distinguished by different cascades of signalling transduction, namely classic and trans-signalling. The present review summarizes the basic principles of IL-6 signalling and discusses its roles in diabetes and associated cardiovascular complications, with emphasis on the different outcomes mediated by the two modes of IL-6 signalling and the value of developing therapeutic strategies to specifically target the deleterious trans-signalling of IL-6.

Keywords: cardiovascular diseases; diabetes; inflammation; interleukin-6.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Interleukin-6