Exercise and interleukin-6

Curr Opin Hematol. 2001 May;8(3):137-41. doi: 10.1097/00062752-200105000-00002.


Strenuous exercise induces increased levels in a number of pro-and anti-inflammatory cytokines, natural occurring cytokine inhibitors, and chemokines. Thus, increased plasma levels of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, interleukin (IL)-1 beta, IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra), TNF-receptors (TNF-R), IL-10, IL-8, and macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1 are found after strenuous exercise. The concentration of IL-6 increases as much as 100-fold after a marathon race. It has recently been demonstrated that IL-6 is produced locally in contracting skeletal muscles and that the net release from the muscle can account for the exercise-induced increase in arterial concentration. Larger amounts of IL-6 are produced in response to exercise than any other cytokine, IL-6 is produced locally in the skeletal muscle in response to exercise, and IL-6 is known to induce hepatic glucose output and to induce lipolysis. These facts indicate that IL-6 may represent an important link between contracting skeletal muscles and exercise-related metabolic changes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cytokines / blood
  • Cytokines / physiology
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / blood*
  • Interleukin-6 / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-6