IL-27 signalling promotes adipocyte thermogenesis and energy expenditure

Nature. 2021 Dec;600(7888):314-318. doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-04127-5. Epub 2021 Nov 24.

Abstract

Thermogenesis in brown and beige adipose tissue has important roles in maintaining body temperature and countering the development of metabolic disorders such as obesity and type 2 diabetes1,2. Although much is known about commitment and activation of brown and beige adipose tissue, its multiple and abundant immunological factors have not been well characterized3-6. Here we define a critical role of IL-27-IL-27Rα signalling in improving thermogenesis, protecting against diet-induced obesity and ameliorating insulin resistance. Mechanistic studies demonstrate that IL-27 directly targets adipocytes, activating p38 MAPK-PGC-1α signalling and stimulating the production of UCP1. Notably, therapeutic administration of IL-27 ameliorated metabolic morbidities in well-established mouse models of obesity. Consistently, individuals with obesity show significantly decreased levels of serum IL-27, which can be restored after bariatric surgery. Collectively, these findings show that IL-27 has an important role in orchestrating metabolic programs, and is a highly promising target for anti-obesity immunotherapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't