Obesity is a positive modulator of IL-6R and IL-6 expression in the subcutaneous adipose tissue: Significance for metabolic inflammation

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Abstract

The role of IL-6R/IL-6 axis in metabolic inflammation remains controversial. We determined the changes in adipose tissue expression of IL-6R and IL-6 in obese, overweight, and lean non-diabetic individuals. Subcutaneous adipose tissue biopsies were collected from 33 obese, 22 overweight, and 10 lean individuals and the expression of IL-6R, IL-6, TNF-α, MCP-1, IP-10,CD11b, CD163, and CD68 was detected by immunohistochemistry; results were also confirmed by real-time RT-PCR and confocal microscopy. The data were compared using unpaired t-test and the dependence between two variables was assessed by Pearson's correlation test. Obese individuals showed higher IL-6R expression (103.8 ±4.807) in the adipose tissue as compared with lean/overweight (68.06±4.179) subjects (P<0.0001). The elevated IL-6R expression correlated positively with body mass index (BMI) (r=0.80 P<0.0001) and percent body fat (r=0.69 P=0.003). The increased IL-6R expression in obesity was also confirmed by RT-PCR (Obese: 3.921±0.712 fold; Lean/ Overweight: 2.191±0.445 fold; P=0.0453) and confocal microscopy. IL-6 expression was also enhanced in obese adipose tissue (127.0±15.91) as compared with lean/overweight (86.69±5.25) individuals (P=0.03) which correlated positively with BMI (r=0.58 P=0.008). IL- 6 mRNA expression was concordantly higher in obese (16.60±2.214 fold) versus lean/overweight (9.376±1.656 fold) individuals (P=0.0108). These changes in the IL-6R/IL-6 expression correlated positively with the adipose tissue expression of CD11b (IL-6R r=0.44 P=0.063; IL-6 r=0.77 P<0.0001), CD163 (IL-6R r=0.45 P=0.045; IL-6 r=0.55 P=0.013), TNF- α (IL-6R r=0.73 P=0.0003; IL-6 r=0.60 P=0.008), MCP-1 (IL-6R r=0.61 P=0.005; IL-6 r=0.63 P=0.004) and IP-10 (IL-6R r=0.41 P=0.08; IL-6 r=0.50 P=0.026). It was, therefore, concluded that obesity was a positive modulator of IL-6R and IL-6 expression in the adipose tissue which might be a contributory mechanism to induce metabolic inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0133494
JournalPloS one
Volume10
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2015

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