IL-6 Signal From the Bone Marrow is Required for the Browning of White Adipose Tissue Post Burn Injury Journal Articles uri icon

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  • The hypermetabolic stress response after burn contributes to multi-organ failure, sepsis, morbidity, and mortality. The cytokine interleukin 6 (IL-6) has been hypothesized to mediate not only white adipose tissue (WAT) browning in burns, but also other hypermetabolic conditions. In addition to its inflammatory effects, IL-6 also acts as a metabolic mediator that affects metabolic tissues. Therefore, we sought to uncover the origin of circulating IL-6 post burn injury that regulates WAT browning. WAT and sera samples were collected from both adult burn patients admitted to the Ross Tilley Burn Centre at Sunnybrook Hospital and mice subjected to a burn injury. Collected tissues were analyzed for browning markers and metabolic state via histology, gene expression, and resting energy expenditure. Increased WAT browning was observed in burn patients as well as mice subjected to burn injury. Circulating IL-6 levels were significantly elevated post burn injury in mice (<0.05) and in burn patients (<0.05), the latter of which was positively correlated with elevated REE. Genetic loss of whole body IL-6 in mice prevented burn-induced WAT browning. Transplanting IL-6 knockout (KO) mice with bone marrow (BM) from wild-type (WT) mice, recovered the browning phenotype in these mice, as evaluated by increased uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) expression (<0.05). Conversely, transplanting irradiated WT mice with BM from IL-6 KO mice impaired burn induced browning with no significant expression of UCP1. Together, our findings implicate BM derived IL-6 as the source controlling browning of WAT post burn injury. Thus, targeting IL-6 is a promising target for hypermetabolism in burns.


  • Abdullahi, Abdikarim
  • Chen, Peter
  • Stanojcic, Mile
  • Sadri, Ali-Reza
  • Coburn, Natalie
  • Jeschke, Marc

publication date

  • January 2017

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