Distinctive exercise-induced inflammatory response and exerkine induction in skeletal muscle of people with type 2 diabetes

Sci Adv. 2022 Sep 9;8(36):eabo3192. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abo3192. Epub 2022 Sep 7.


Mechanistic insights into the molecular events by which exercise enhances the skeletal muscle phenotype are lacking, particularly in the context of type 2 diabetes. Here, we unravel a fundamental role for exercise-responsive cytokines (exerkines) on skeletal muscle development and growth in individuals with normal glucose tolerance or type 2 diabetes. Acute exercise triggered an inflammatory response in skeletal muscle, concomitant with an infiltration of immune cells. These exercise effects were potentiated in type 2 diabetes. In response to contraction or hypoxia, cytokines were mainly produced by endothelial cells and macrophages. The chemokine CXCL12 was induced by hypoxia in endothelial cells, as well as by conditioned medium from contracted myotubes in macrophages. We found that CXCL12 was associated with skeletal muscle remodeling after exercise and differentiation of cultured muscle. Collectively, acute aerobic exercise mounts a noncanonical inflammatory response, with an atypical production of exerkines, which is potentiated in type 2 diabetes.

MeSH terms

  • Chemokine CXCL12
  • Cytokines
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2*
  • Endothelial Cells
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia
  • Inflammation*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology


  • CXCL12 protein, human
  • Chemokine CXCL12
  • Cytokines