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Skeletal muscle regulates substrate choice according to demand and availability and pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) is central in this regulation. Circulating interleukin (IL)-6 increases during exercise and IL-6 has been suggested to increase whole body fat oxidation. Furthermore, IL-6 has been reported to increase AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) phosphorylation and AMPK suggested to regulate PDHa activity. Together, this suggests that IL-6 may be involved in regulating PDH. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of a single injection of IL-6 on PDH regulation in skeletal muscle in fed and fasted mice. Fed and 16-18 h fasted mice were injected with either 3 ng · g(-1) recombinant mouse IL-6 or PBS as control. Fasting markedly reduced plasma glucose, muscle glycogen, muscle PDHa activity, as well as increased PDK4 mRNA and protein content in skeletal muscle. IL-6 injection did not affect plasma glucose or muscle glycogen, but increased AMPK and ACC phosphorylation and tended to decrease p38 protein content in skeletal muscle in fasted mice. In addition IL-6 injection reduced PDHa activity in fed mice and increased PDHa activity in fasted mice without significant changes in PDH-E1α phosphorylation or PDP1 and PDK4 mRNA and protein content. The present findings suggest that IL-6 contributes to regulating the PDHa activity and hence carbohydrate oxidation, but the metabolic state of the muscle seems to determine the outcome of this regulation. In addition, AMPK and p38 may contribute to the IL-6-mediated PDH regulation in the fasted state.

Original publication




Journal article


Pflugers Arch

Publication Date





1647 - 1657


AMP-Activated Protein Kinases, Animals, Blotting, Western, Female, Interleukin-6, MAP Kinase Signaling System, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Muscle, Skeletal, Physical Conditioning, Animal, Pyruvate Dehydrogenase (Lipoamide), Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction, Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction