Role of Interleukin-6 in Development of Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Crit Rev Eukaryot Gene Expr. 2017;27(3):229-236. doi: 10.1615/CritRevEukaryotGeneExpr.2017019712.


Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a proinflammatory cytokine that decisively induces the development of insulin resistance and pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) through the generation of inflammation by controlling differentiation, migration, proliferation, and cell apoptosis. The presence of IL-6 in tissues is a normal consequence, but its irregular production and long-term exposure leads to the development of inflammation, which induces insulin resistance and overt T2DM. There is a mechanistic relationship between the stimulation of IL-6 and insulin resistance. IL-6 causes insulin resistance by impairing the phosphorylation of insulin receptor and insulin receptor substrate-1 by inducing the expression of SOCS-3, a potential inhibitor of insulin signaling. In this article, we have briefly described how IL-6 induces the insulin resistance and pathogenesis of T2DM. The prevention of inflammatory disorders by blocking IL-6 and IL-6 signaling may be an effective strategy for the treatment of insulin resistance and T2DM.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / genetics*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / pathology
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / genetics*
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Insulin / genetics
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Receptor Substrate Proteins / genetics
  • Insulin Resistance / genetics*
  • Interleukin-6 / genetics*
  • Receptor, Insulin / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling 3 Protein / genetics


  • Insulin
  • Insulin Receptor Substrate Proteins
  • Interleukin-6
  • SOCS3 protein, human
  • Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling 3 Protein
  • Receptor, Insulin