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Reduced exercise endurance in interleukin-6-deficient mice

Journal article
Authors Jenny Fäldt
Ingrid Wernstedt
Sharyn M. Fitzgerald
Kristina Wallenius
Göran Bergström
John-Olov Jansson
Published in Endocrinology
Volume 145
Issue 6
Pages 2680-6
ISSN 0013-7227 (Print)
Publication year 2004
Published at Wallenberg Laboratory
Cardiovascular Institute
Institute of Internal Medicine, Dept of Medicine
Institute of Internal Medicine, Dept of Body Composition and Metabolism
Institute of Physiology and Pharmacology, Dept of Physiology
Pages 2680-6
Language en
Keywords Animals, Body Composition, Energy Metabolism, Glycogen/blood, Interleukin-6/deficiency/*metabolism, Male, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Knockout, Motor Activity, Obesity/blood/metabolism/*physiopathology, Physical Endurance/*physiology, Pulmonary Gas Exchange
Subject categories Medical and Health Sciences


IL-6 is produced and released in large amounts from skeletal muscle during prolonged exercise in both mice and humans, but there are few data indicating the biological significance of this. IL-6 exerts metabolic effects such as stimulating energy expenditure and reducing body fat mass. We have now investigated the effects of IL-6 deficiency on exercise endurance and energy expenditure in preobese and obese IL-6-deficient (IL-6(-/-)) mice. Four-month-old preobese and 7-month-old obese IL-6(-/-) male mice backcrossed to C57BL/6 and their littermate controls were exercised on a treadmill, and energy expenditure was measured as oxygen consumption with the use of indirect calorimetry. The preobese IL-6(-/-) mice were significantly leaner than the control mice, whereas the older IL-6(-/-) mice, as expected, had developed obesity. Resting young, but not older, IL-6(-/-) mice had an elevated respiratory exchange ratio (RER), indicating that they oxidize carbohydrates rather than fat for energy utilization. During exercise, the young and older IL-6(-/-) mice had a reduced endurance and a progressive decrease in oxygen consumption compared with control mice. There was no difference in RER in young IL-6(-/-) mice, whereas RER was enhanced in older IL-6(-/-), mice during exercise. In summary, IL-6(-/-) mice have reduced endurance and energy expenditure during exercise, suggesting that IL-6 is necessary for normal exercise capacity.

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