Interleukin-36 cytokines alter the intestinal microbiome and can protect against obesity and metabolic dysfunction

Type Article

Journal Article


E. Giannoudaki; Y. E. Hernandez-Santana; K. Mulfaul; S. L. Doyle; E. Hams; P. G. Fallon; A. Mat; D. O'Shea; M. Kopf; A. E. Hogan; P. T. Walsh

Year of publication



Nat Commun








Members of the interleukin-1 (IL-1) family are important mediators of obesity and metabolic disease and have been described to often play opposing roles. Here we report that the interleukin-36 (IL-36) subfamily can play a protective role against the development of disease. Elevated IL-36 cytokine expression is found in the serum of obese patients and negatively correlates with blood glucose levels among those presenting with type 2 diabetes. Mice lacking IL-36Ra, an IL-36 family signalling antagonist, develop less diet-induced weight gain, hyperglycemia and insulin resistance. These protective effects correlate with increased abundance of the metabolically protective bacteria Akkermansia muciniphila in the intestinal microbiome. IL-36 cytokines promote its outgrowth as well as increased colonic mucus secretion. These findings identify a protective role for IL-36 cytokines in obesity and metabolic disease, adding to the current understanding of the role the broader IL-1 family plays in regulating disease pathogenesis.