European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 110, Issue 3, pp 619–625 | Cite as

The reliability of the IL-6, sIL-6R and sgp130 response to a preloaded time trial

  • I. WalsheEmail author
  • P. Robson-Ansley
  • A. St Clair Gibson
  • C. Lawrence
  • K. G. Thompson
  • L. Ansley
Original Article


Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a cytokine that can mediate numerous biological actions including fatigue. Circulating IL-6 increases during prolonged exercise, and furthermore, the signalling receptors sIL-6R and sgp130 are also increased. The variability of the response of these markers to exercise is unknown; therefore, we examined the changes in these markers to a preloaded time trial bout of running. Nine males performed three identical trials where participants ran at 60% \( v\dot{V}{\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{max}}}} \) for 2 h interspersed with 30 s at 90% \( v\dot{V}{\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{max}}}} \) every 10 min, followed by a 5-km time trial. Blood samples were drawn at baseline, following the 2-h bout, post time trial, 1 h post time trial and the following morning. Results showed that between-subject variability (CVg) was greater than within-subject variation (CVi) for the three markers. IL-6, sIL-6R and sgp130 demonstrated a CVi of 15.3–25.5%, 15.0–17.6% and 6.2–9.4% variation, respectively, across the time points. When the data from the second and third trials were analysed independently, CVi was reduced which is supported by the time trial results for which CVi improve (4.7–2.4%). In conclusion, the results indicate that a large variation in response to exercise can be reduced following a habituation trial.


Exercise IL-6 sIL-6R Time trial Reliability 



The authors would like to acknowledge the English Institute of Sport, Gateshead, UK for their support. This study was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and GlaxoSmithKline Nutritional Healthcare UK.


  1. Borg G (1982) Ratings of perceived exertion and heart rates during short-term cycle exercise and their use in a new cycling strength test. Int J Sports Med 3:153–158CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Cava F, Gonzalez C, Pascual M, Navajo J, Gonzalez-Buitrago J (2000) Biological variation of the interleukin-6 and soluble interleukin-2 receptor in serum of healthy individuals. Cytokine 12:1423–1425CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Currell K, Jeukendrup A (2008) Validity, reliability and sensitivity of measures of sporting performance. Sports Med 38:297–316CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Denadai B, Ortiz M, Greco C, de Mello M (2006) Interval training at 95% and 100% of the velocity at VO2 max: effects on aerobic physiological indexes and running performance. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 31:737–743CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Dugue B, Leppanen E (1998) Short-term variability in the concentration of serum interleukin-6 and its soluble receptor in subjectively healthy persons. Clin Chem Lab Med 36:323–325CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Gray S, Robinson M, Nimmo M (2008) Response of plasma IL-6 and its soluble receptors during submaximal exercise to fatigue in sedetary middle-aged men. Cell Stress Chaperons 13:247–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ho G, Xue X, Burk R, Kaplan R, Cornell E, Cushman M (2005) Variability of serum levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin-6, and soluble interleukin-6 receptor over 2 years in young women. Cytokine 30:1–6CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Hopkins W (2000) Measures of reliability in sports medicine and science. Sports Med 30:1–25CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Jeukendrup A, Saris W, Brouns F, Kester A (1996) A new validated endurance performance test. Med Sci Sports Exerc 28:266–270PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Jones S, Rose-John S (2002) The role of the soluble receptors in cytokine biology, the agonistic properties of the sIL-6R/IL-6 complex. Biochim Biophys Acta 1592:251–263CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Jones S, Horiuchi S, Topley N, Yamamoto N, Fuller G (2001) The soluble interleukin 6 receptor: mechanisms of production and implications in disease. Fed Am Soc Exp Bio 15:43–58Google Scholar
  12. Knudsen L, Christiensen I, Lottenburger T, Svendsen M, Nielsen L, Horslev-Petersen K, Jensen J, Kollerup G, Johansen J (2008) Pre-analytical and biological variability in circulating interleukin-6 in healthy subjects and patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Biomarkers 13:59–78CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Levine S (2004) Mechanisms of soluble cytokine receptor generation. J Immun 173:5343–5348PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Mitov I, Kropec A, Benzing A, Just H, Garotta G, Galanos C, Freudenberg M (1997) Differential cytokine production in stimulated blood cultures from intensive care patients with bacterial infections. Infection 25:206–212CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Robson-Ansley P, de Milander L, Collins M, Noakes T (2004) Acute interleukin-6 administration impairs athletic performance in healthy, trained male runners. Can J Appl Physiol 29:411–418PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Robson-Ansley P, Barwood M, Canavan J, Hack S, Eglin C, Davey S, Hewitt J, Hull J, Ansley L (2009) The effect of repeated endurance exercise on IL-6 and sIL-6R and their relationship with sensations of fatigue at rest. Cytokine 45:111–116CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Russell R, Redmann S, Ravussin E, Hunter G, Larson-Meyer D (2004) Reproducibility of endurance performance on a treadmill using a preloaded time trial. Med Sci Sports Exerc 36:717–724CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Schubert C, Hong S, Natarajan L, Mills P, Dimsdale J (2007) The association between fatigue and the inflammatory marker level in cancer patients: a quantitative review. Brain Behav Immun 21:413–427CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Steensberg A, Van Hall G, Osada T, Sacchetti M, Saltin B, Klarland P (2000) Production of interleukin-6 in contracting human skeletal muscles can account for the exercise-induced increase in plasma interleukin-6. J Physiol 541:273–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Tyler C, Sunderland C (2008) The effect of ambient temperature on the reliability of a preloaded treadmill time-trial. Int J Sports Med 29:812–816CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. Walshe
    • 1
    Email author
  • P. Robson-Ansley
    • 1
  • A. St Clair Gibson
    • 1
  • C. Lawrence
    • 2
  • K. G. Thompson
    • 1
  • L. Ansley
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sport and Exercise SciencesNorthumbria UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  2. 2.GlaxoSmithKline Nutritional Healthcare R&DSloughUK

Personalised recommendations