Multiplex Quantification Identifies Novel Exercise-regulated Myokines/Cytokines in Plasma and in Glycolytic and Oxidative Skeletal Muscle

Mol Cell Proteomics. 2018 Aug;17(8):1546-1563. doi: 10.1074/mcp.RA118.000794. Epub 2018 May 7.


Exercise is known to confer major health benefits, but the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. The systemic effects of exercise on multi-organ systems are thought to be partly because of myokines/cytokines secreted by skeletal muscle. The extent to which exercise alters cytokine expression and secretion in different muscle fiber types has not been systematically examined. Here, we assessed changes in 66 mouse cytokines in serum, and in glycolytic (plantaris) and oxidative (soleus) muscles, in response to sprint, endurance, or chronic wheel running. Both acute and short-term exercise significantly altered a large fraction of cytokines in both serum and muscle, twenty-three of which are considered novel exercise-regulated myokines. Most of the secreted cytokine receptors profiled were also altered by physical activity, suggesting an exercise-regulated mechanism that modulates the generation of soluble receptors found in circulation. A greater overlap in cytokine profile was seen between endurance and chronic wheel running. Between fiber types, both acute and chronic exercise induced significantly more cytokine changes in oxidative compared with glycolytic muscle. Further, changes in a subset of circulating cytokines were not matched by their changes in muscle, but instead reflected altered expression in liver and adipose tissues. Last, exercise-induced changes in cytokine mRNA and protein were only minimally correlated in soleus and plantaris. In sum, our results indicate that exercise regulates many cytokines whose pleiotropic actions may be linked to positive health outcomes. These data provide a framework to further understand potential crosstalk between skeletal muscle and other organ compartments.

Keywords: Cell secretion; Cytokines; Inflammatory response; Mouse models; Secretome; cytokines; exercise; skeletal muscle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Glycolysis*
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal*
  • Physical Endurance
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism


  • Cytokines
  • RNA, Messenger