Interleukin-6 impairs the insulin signaling pathway, promoting production of nitric oxide in human umbilical vein endothelial cells

Francesco Andreozzi, Emanuela Laratta, Cristina Procopio, Marta Letizia Hribal, Angela Sciacqua, Maria Perticone, Claudia Miele, Francesco Perticone, Giorgio Sesti
Molecular and Cellular Biology 2007, 27 (6): 2372-83
Interleukin 6 (IL-6) is an independent predictor of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease and is correlated with insulin resistance. Insulin stimulates nitric oxide (NO) production through the IRS-1/PI3-kinase/Akt/eNOS pathway (where IRS-1 is insulin receptor substrate 1, PI3-kinase is phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, and eNOS is endothelial NO synthase). We asked if IL-6 affects insulin vasodilator action both in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) and in the aortas of C57BL/6J mice and whether this inhibitory effect was caused by increased Ser phosphorylation of IRS-1. We observed that IL-6 increased IRS-1 phosphorylation at Ser(312) and Ser(616); these effects were paralleled by increased Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) phosphorylation and reversed by JNK and ERK1/2 inhibition. In addition, IL-6 treatment resulted in impaired IRS-1 phosphorylation at Tyr(612), a site essential for engaging PI3-kinase. Furthermore, IL-6 treatment reduced insulin-stimulated phosphorylation of eNOS at the stimulatory Ser(1177) site and impaired insulin-stimulated eNOS dephosphorylation at the inhibitory Thr(495) site. Insulin-stimulated eNOS activation and NO production were also inhibited by IL-6; these effects were reversed by inhibition of JNK and ERK1/2. Treatment of C57BL/6J mice with IL-6 resulted in impaired insulin-dependent activation of the Akt/eNOS pathway in the aorta as a result of JNK and ERK1/2 activation. Our data suggest that IL-6 impairs the vasodilator effects of insulin that are mediated by the IRS-1/PI3-kinase/Akt/eNOS pathway through activation of JNK and ERK1/2.

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