IL-6 Receptor Blockade Increases Circulating Adiponectin Levels in People with Obesity: An Explanatory Analysis

Stephan Wueest, Eleonora Seelig, Katharina Timper, Mark P Lyngbaek, Kristian Karstoft, Marc Y Donath, Helga Ellingsgaard, Daniel Konrad

8 Citations (Scopus)


Human obesity is associated with decreased circulating adiponectin and elevated leptin levels. In vitro experiments and studies in high fat diet (HFD)-fed mice suggest that interleukin-6 (IL-6) may regulate adiponectin and leptin release from white adipose tissue (WAT). Herein, we aimed to investigate whether IL-6 receptor blockade affects the levels of circulating adiponectin and leptin in obese human individuals. To this end, serum samples collected during a multicenter, double-blind clinical trial were analyzed. In the latter study, obese human subjects with or without type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned to recurrent placebo or intravenous tocilizumab (an IL-6 receptor antibody) administration during a 12-week exercise training intervention. Twelve weeks of tocilizumab administration (in combination with exercise training) trend wise enhanced the decrease in circulating leptin levels (-2.7 ± 8.2% in the placebo vs. -20.6 ± 5.6% in tocilizumab, p = 0.08) and significantly enhanced the increase in circulating adiponectin (3.4 ± 3.7% in the placebo vs. 27.0 ± 6.6% in tocilizumab, p = 0.01). In addition, circulating adiponectin levels were negatively correlated with the homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), indicating that increased adiponectin levels positively affect insulin sensitivity in people with obesity. In conclusion, IL-6 receptor blockade increases circulating adiponectin levels in people with obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number79
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2021


  • Adipokine
  • Tocilizumab
  • White adipose tissue


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