Previous studies have shown that interleukin-6, found to be naturally high in diabetic and obese persons and could be harmful, however, this study proves exactly the opposite.
"No study had tried to inject interleukin-6 directly to analyse if this molecule was really harmful or, to the contrary, could help to prevent obesity and diabetes" said Jose Luis Mesa, technical director, Vitagenes, a company which forms part of the Campus program promoted by the University of Granada (UGR).
"Our hypothesis was that interleukin-6 was naturally high in diabetic and obese persons precisely to combat such diseases," he said.
"In order to prove it, we injected human recombinant interleukin-6 daily for two weeks and analysed its behaviour and its effects on the metabolism.
They found that interleukin-6 improved insulin sensitivity and the absorption of glucose, essential for diabetics.
Moreover, interleukin-6 increased the expression of important genes related to fats metabolism, such as PPAR and UCP2, suggesting that it could be involved in the metabolic control of body weight.
The team suggests that this is a preliminary study carried out in animal models, and more studies are required in humans to establish definite conclusions.
"Although everything seems to indicate that the application in humans would be possible in the medium term. This could substantially improve the state of people with diabetes and obesity", Mesa added.
The study is published in the international scientific Journal of Endocrinology.