Lack of interleukin-6 (IL-6) leads to expansion of adipose tissue mass in rodents and humans. The exact underlying mechanisms have not been identified. In this placebo-controlled, non-randomized, participant-blinded crossover study, we use the IL-6 receptor antibody tocilizumab to investigate the role of endogenous IL-6 in regulating systemic energy metabolism at rest and during exercise and recovery in lean and obese men using tracer dilution methodology. Tocilizumab reduces fatty acid appearance in the circulation under all conditions in lean and obese individuals, whereas lipolysis (the rate of glycerol appearance into the circulation) is mostly unaffected. The fact that fatty acid oxidation is unaffected by IL-6 receptor blockade suggests increased re-esterification of fatty acids. Glucose kinetics are unaffected. We find that blocking endogenous IL-6 signaling with tocilizumab impairs fat mobilization, which may contribute to expansion of adipose tissue mass and, thus, affect the health of individuals undergoing anti-IL-6 therapy (Clinicaltrials.gov: NCT03967691).

Original languageEnglish
Article number100396
JournalCell reports. Medicine
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)100396
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Blocking endogenous IL-6 impairs mobilization of free fatty acids during rest and exercise in lean and obese men'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this