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.
© 2014 The British Pharmacological Society.