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Overexpression of interleukin-15 in mice promotes resistance to diet-induced obesity, increased insulin sensitivity, and markers of oxidative skeletal muscle metabolism

Authors Quinn L, Anderson, Conner, Pistilli, Wolden-Hanson

Published 18 April 2011 Volume 2011:3 Pages 29—42


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

LeBris S Quinn1,3,4, Barbara G Anderson1,3, Jennifer D Conner2,4, Emidio E Pistilli5,6, Tami Wolden-Hanson1,2
1Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, 2Research Service, VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA, USA; 3Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA; 4Seattle Institute for Biomedical and Clinical Research, Seattle, WA, USA; 5Department of Physiology, 6Pennsylvania Muscle Institute, University of Pennsylvania, PA, USA

Abstract: Interleukin-15 (IL-15) is a cytokine that is highly expressed in skeletal muscle. In addition to its well-characterized effects on innate immunity, IL-15 has been proposed to modulate skeletal muscle and adipose tissue mass, as well as insulin sensitivity. In the present study, an IL-15 gain-of-function model, transgenic mice with skeletal muscle-specific oversecretion of IL-15 (IL-15 Tg mice), was utilized to test the hypotheses that IL-15 promotes insulin sensitivity and resistance to diet-induced obesity (DIO) by increasing circulating adiponectin levels, and that IL-15 regulates skeletal muscle metabolism without inducing overt muscle hypertrophy. Compared to closely related control mice, IL-15 Tg mice exhibited lower total body fat following high-fat feeding, lower intra-abdominal fat following both low- and high-fat feeding, and greater insulin sensitivity. However, this was not accompanied by increased total or high molecular weight serum adiponectin levels in IL-15 Tg mice. While overall lean body mass did not differ, IL-15 Tg mice exhibited increased mass of the oxidative soleus muscle, and increased expression of mRNA encoding the slow isoform of troponin I (TnnI 1) in the predominately glycolytic extensor digitorum longus muscle. Skeletal muscle tissue from IL-15 Tg mice also exhibited alterations in the expression of several genes associated with fatty acid metabolism, such as SIRT1, SIRT4, and uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2). These findings suggest changes in oxidative metabolism, rather than induction of adiponectin expression, appear to be responsible for the DIO-resistant and more insulin-sensitive phenotype of IL-15 Tg mice.

Keywords: interleukin-15, skeletal muscle, obesity, adiponectin, UCP2, sirtuins

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