Functional interleukin-6 receptor-α is located in tanycytes at the base of the third ventricle

F. Anesten, C. Santos, E. Gidestrand, E. Schéle, V. Pálsdóttir, T. Swedung-Wettervik, B. Meister, K. Patrycja Skibicka, J. O. Jansson

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Interleukin (IL)-6/ mice develop mature onset obesity, whereas i.c.v. injection of IL-6 decreases obesity in rodents. Moreover, levels of IL-6 in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were reported to be inversely correlated with obesity in humans. Tanycytes lining the base of the third ventricle (3V) in the hypothalamus have recently been reported to be of importance for metabolism. In the present study, we investigated whether tanycytes could respond to IL-6 in the CSF. With immunohistochemistry using a well characterised antibody directed against the ligand binding receptor for IL-6, IL-6 receptor α (IL-6Rα), it was found that tanycytes, identified by the two markers, vimentin and dopamine- and cAMP-regulated phosphoprotein of 32 kDa, contained IL-6Rα. There were fewer IL-6Rα on another type of ventricle-lining cells, ependymal cells, as identified by the marker glucose transporter-1. To demonstrate that the immunoreactive IL-6Rα were responsive to IL-6, we injected IL-6 i.c.v. This treatment increased immunoreactive phosphorylated signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 (pSTAT3) in tanycytes after 5 minutes and in cells in the medial part of the arcuate nucleus after 5 and 15 minutes. Intracerebroventricular injection of leptin exerted similar effects. As expected, i.p. injection of leptin also induced pSTAT3 staining in the hypothalamus, whereas i.p. IL-6 injection had little effect on this parameter. Intracerebroventricular or i.p. injection of vehicle only had no effect on pSTAT3-immunoreactivity. In summary, there are functional IL-6Rα on tanycytes at the bottom of the 3V, in agreement with the possibility that ventricular administration of IL-6 decreases obesity in mice via an effect on this cell type.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12546
JournalJournal of Neuroendocrinology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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