The aim of the current study was to investigate the levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), its soluble receptors (sIL-6R and sgp130) and F(2)-isoprostanes, at rest and during exercise, in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Six male CFS patients and six healthy controls performed an incremental exercise test to exhaustion and a submaximal exercise bout to exhaustion. Blood samples taken in the submaximal test at rest, immediately post-exercise and 24 h post-exercise were analyzed for IL-6, sIL-6R, sgp130 and F(2)-isoprostanes. A further 33 CFS and 33 healthy control participants gave a resting blood sample for IL-6 and sIL-6R measurement. During the incremental exercise test only power output at the lactate threshold was lower (P<0.05) in the CFS group. F(2)-isoprostanes were higher (P<0.05) in CFS patients at rest and this difference persisted immediately and 24 h post-exercise. The exercise study found no differences in IL-6, sIL-6R or sgp130 at any time point between groups. In the larger resting group, there were no differences in IL-6 and sIL-6R between CFS and control groups. This investigation has demonstrated that patients with CFS do not have altered plasma levels of IL-6, sIL-6R or sgp130 either at rest or following exercise. F(2)-isoprostanes, however, were consistently higher in CFS patients.