Preproglucagon neurons in the hindbrain have IL-6 receptor-α and show Ca2+ influx in response to IL-6

Fredrik Anesten, Marie K. Holt, Erik Schéle, Vilborg Pálsdóttir, Frank Reimann, Fiona M. Gribble, Cecilia Safari, Karolina P. Skibicka, Stefan Trapp, John Olov Jansson

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16 Scopus citations


Neuronal circuits in the hypothalamus and hindbrain are of importance for control of food intake, energy expenditure, and fat mass. We have recently shown that treatment with exendin-4 (Ex-4), an analog of the proglucagonderived molecule glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), markedly increases mRNA expression of the cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) in the hypothalamus and hindbrain and that this increase partly mediates the suppression of food intake and body weight by Ex-4. Endogenous GLP-1 in the central nervous system (CNS) is produced by preproglucagon (PPG) neurons of the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) in the hindbrain. These neurons project to various parts of the brain, including the hypothalamus. Outside the brain, IL-6 stimulates GLP-1 secretion from the gut and pancreas. In this study, we aim to investigate whether IL-6 can affect GLP-1-producing PPG neurons in the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) in mouse hindbrain via the ligand binding part of the IL-6 receptor, IL-6 receptor-α (IL-6Rα). Using immunohistochemistry, we found that IL-6Rα was localized on PPG neurons of the NTS. Recordings of these neurons in GCaMP3/GLP-1 reporter mice showed that IL-6 enhances cytosolic Ca2+ concentration in neurons capable of expressing PPG. We also show that the Ca2+ increase originates from the extracellular space. Furthermore, we found that IL-6Rα was localized on cells in the caudal hindbrain expressing immunoreactive NeuN (a neuronal marker) or CNP:ase (an oligodendrocyte marker). In summary, IL-6Rα is present on PPG neurons in the NTS, and IL-6 can stimulate these cells by increasing influx of Ca2+ to the cytosol from the extracellular space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R115-R123
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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