Aim: Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a major cytokine controlling body weight and metabolism, but because many types of cells can synthesize and respond to IL-6 considerable uncertainty still exists about the mechanisms underlying IL-6 effects. Therefore, the aim of this study was to analyse the effects of tissue-specific deletion of IL-6 using a fatty acid binding protein (aP2) promoter-Cre inducible system (aP2-Cre-ERT2).
Methods: Tissue-specific IL-6 KO mice (aP2-IL-6 KO mice) were produced upon tamoxifen administration and were fed a high-fat diet (HFD, 58.4% kcal from fat) or a control diet (18%) for 14 weeks.
Results: aP2-IL-6 KO female mice on a HFD gained less weight and adiposity than littermate wild-type mice, but these effects were not observed in males. Hypothalamic factors such as NPY and AgRP showed a pattern of expression consistent with this sex-specific phenotype. PGC-1α expression was increased in several tissues in aP2-IL-6 KO female mice, which is compatible with increased energy expenditure. Serum leptin, insulin, glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides levels were increased by HFD, and in females IL-6 deficiency reversed this effect in the case of insulin and cholesterol. HFD induced impaired responses to insulin and glucose tolerance tests, but no significant differences between genotypes were observed.
Conclusion: The present results demonstrate that deletion of IL-6 driven by aP2-Cre regulates body weight, body fat and metabolism in a sex-specific fashion.
Keywords: aP2-Cre-induced IL-6 deficiency; body weight; high-fat diet; hypothalamic factors; insulin signalling.
© 2014 Scandinavian Physiological Society. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.