IL-37 protects against obesity-induced inflammation and insulin resistance



Cytokines of the IL-1 family are important modulators of obesity-induced inflammation and the development of systemic insulin resistance. Here, we report that IL-37, a newly-described antiinflammatory member of the IL-1 family, affects obesity-induced inflammation and insulin resistance. IL-37 transgenic mice (IL-37tg) did not develop an obese phenotype in response to a high-fat diet (HFD). Unlike WT mice, IL-37tg mice exhibited reduced numbers of adipose tissue macrophages and preserved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity after 16 weeks of HFD. A short-term HFD intervention revealed that the IL-37-mediated improvement in glucose tolerance is independent of bodyweight. IL-37tg mice manifested a beneficial metabolic profile with higher circulating levels of the anti-inflammatory adipokine adiponectin. In vitro treatment of differentiating adipocytes with recombinant IL-37 reduced adipogenesis. The beneficial effects of recombinant IL-37 involved activation of AMPK signaling. In humans, steady-state IL-37 adipose tissue mRNA levels were positively correlated with insulin sensitivity, lower adipose tissue levels of leptin and a lower inflammatory status of the adipose tissue. These findings reveal IL-37 as an important anti-inflammatory modulator during obesity-induced inflammation and insulin resistance in both mice and humans and suggest that IL-37 is a potential target for the treatment of obesity-induced insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Date made available18 May 2015
PublisherWageningen University


  • Mus musculus

Accession numbers

  • GSE58952
  • PRJNA253964

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