We investigated relationships among immune, metabolic, and sleep abnormalities in mice with non-metastatic mammary cancer. Tumor-bearing mice displayed interleukin-6 (IL-6)-mediated peripheral inflammation, coincident with altered hepatic glucose processing and sleep. Tumor-bearing mice were hyperphagic, had reduced serum leptin concentrations, and enhanced sensitivity to exogenous ghrelin. We tested whether these phenotypes were driven by inflammation using neutralizing monoclonal antibodies against IL-6; despite the reduction in IL-6 signaling, metabolic and sleep abnormalities persisted. We next investigated neural populations coupling metabolism and sleep, and observed altered activity within lateral-hypothalamic hypocretin/orexin (HO) neurons. We used a dual HO-receptor antagonist to test whether increased HO signaling was causing metabolic abnormalities. This approach rescued metabolic abnormalities and enhanced sleep quality in tumor-bearing mice. Peripheral sympathetic denervation prevented tumor-induced increases in serum glucose. Our results link metabolic and sleep abnormalities via the HO system, and provide evidence that central neuromodulators contribute to tumor-induced changes in metabolism.
Keywords: IL-6; breast cancer; ghrelin; glucose; hypocretin/orexin; leptin; sleep.
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