IL-6 is one of the most important mediators of fever and of the acute phase response. It is capable of crossing the blood brain barrier and initiating synthesis of PGE2 in the hypothalamus, thereby changing the body's temperature setpoint.
In the muscle and fatty tissue IL-6 stimulates energy mobilization which leads to increased body temperature. IL-6 can be secreted by macrophages in response to specific microbial molecules, referred to as pathogen associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). These PAMPs bind to highly important group of detection molecules of the innate immune system, called pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), including Toll-like receptors (TLRs). These are present on the cell surface and intracellular compartments and induce intracellular signaling cascades that give rise to inflammatory cytokine production.
IL-6 is also essential for hybridoma growth and is found in many supplemental cloning media such as briclone. Inhibitors of IL-6 (including estrogen) are used to treat postmenopausal osteoporosis.
Il-6 is also produced by adipocytes and is thought to be a reason why obese individuals have higher endogeneous levels of CRP. In a 2009 study, intranasally administered IL-6 was shown to improve sleep-associated consolidation of emotional memories.
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Last Updated: Feb 22, 2011