Interleukin-15 Contributes to the Regulation of Murine Adipose Tissue and Human Adipocytes
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An alarming global rise in the prevalence of obesity and its contribution to the development of chronic diseases is a serious health concern. Recently, obesity has been described as a chronic low-grade inflammatory condition, influenced by both adipose tissue and immune cells suggesting proinflammatory cytokines may play a role in its etiology. Here we examined the effects of interleukin-15 (IL-15) on adipose tissue and its association with obesity. Over expression of IL-15 (IL-15tg) was associated with lean body condition whereas lack of IL-15 (IL-15(-/-)) results in significant increase in weight gain without altering appetite. Interestingly, there were no differences in proinflammatory cytokines such as IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) in serum between the three strains of mice. In addition, there were significant numbers of natural killer (NK) cells in fat tissues from IL-15tg and B6 compared to IL-15(-/-) mice. IL-15 treatment results in significant weight loss in IL-15(-/-) knockout and diet-induced obese mice independent of food intake. Fat pad cross-sections show decreased pad size with over expression of IL-15 is due to adipocyte shrinkage. IL-15 induces weight loss without altering food consumption by affecting lipid deposition in adipocytes. Treatment of differentiated human adipocytes with recombinant human IL-15 protein resulted in decreased lipid deposition. In addition, obese patients had significantly lower serum IL-15 levels when compared to normal weight individuals. These results clearly suggest that IL-15 may be involved in adipose tissue regulation and linked to obesity.
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