Interleukin-6 is associated with chronic hyperglycemia and insulin resistance in patients after acute pancreatitis

Pancreatology. Sep-Oct 2016;16(5):748-55. doi: 10.1016/j.pan.2016.06.661. Epub 2016 Jul 2.


Background: Diabetes is a pervasive disease, with a mounting prevalence and burden on health care systems. Under this collective term of diabetes falls diabetes after diseases of the exocrine pancreas, a condition which was previously under-recognised and often mislabeled as type 2 diabetes mellitus and is now increasingly acknowledged as a stand-alone entity. However, there is a paucity of clinical studies investigating the underlying pathophysiology of diabetes after acute pancreatitis, the most frequent disease of the pancreas. This study aimed to investigate the role of adipocytokines in glucose metabolism after acute pancreatitis.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional follow-up study of a patient cohort diagnosed with acute pancreatitis. Fasting venous blood samples were collected to analyse markers of glucose metabolism (fasting blood glucose, haemoglobin A1c, homeostasis model assessment (HOMA-IR) as a measure of insulin resistance) and adypocytokines (adiponectin, interleukin-6, leptin, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, retinol binding protein-4, resistin, and tumor necrosis factor-α). Participants were categorized into two groups: normoglycemia after acute pancreatitis and chronic hyperglycemia after acute pancreatitis (CHAP). Binary logistic regression and linear regression analyses were used to investigate the association between each of the adipocytokines and markers of glucose metabolism. Potential confounders were adjusted for in multivariate analyses.

Results: A total of 83 patients with acute pancreatitis were included, of whom 19 developed CHAP. Interleukin-6 was significantly associated with CHAP in both unadjusted and adjusted models (p = 0.030 and p = 0.018, respectively). Further, it was also significantly associated with HOMA-IR in both unadjusted and adjusted models (p = 0.029 and p = 0.037, respectively). Other adipocytokines were not significantly associated with markers of glucose metabolism.

Conclusion: Interleukin-6 appears to be implicated in the development of chronic hyperglycemia and insulin resistance in patients after acute pancreatitis. It may become a potential target in the prevention and early treatment of diabetes after diseases of the exocrine pancreas.

Keywords: Acute pancreatitis; Adipocytokines; Diabetes; Glucose metabolism; Insulin resistance.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adipokines / metabolism
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anatomy, Cross-Sectional
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / blood*
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Interleukin-6 / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatitis / blood*


  • Adipokines
  • Blood Glucose
  • IL6 protein, human
  • Interleukin-6
  • Glucose