European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 111, Issue 8, pp 1649–1658 | Cite as

Salivary estradiol, interleukin-6 production, and the relationship to substrate metabolism during exercise in females

  • Stephen J. IvesEmail author
  • Mark Blegen
  • Mary A. Coughlin
  • Jan Redmond
  • Tracey Matthews
  • Vincent Paolone
Original Article


Estradiol (E2) has been documented to have anti-inflammatory effects on the immune system. Interleukin-6 (IL-6), is classified as a “myokine”, and has known metabolic consequences. Thus, the purpose of this study was to determine the effects of menstrual phase and exercise on the interaction of E2 and IL-6, and the role of IL-6 in substrate metabolism. Ten female subjects completed three separate testing sessions: baseline evaluation, and 1 h of treadmill exercise at 65% of peak \( \dot V {\text{O}}_{2} \) during both the midfollicular (MF) and midluteal (ML) menstrual phases. Saliva was collected prior to, during, and post-exercise for determination of E2 and IL-6. Expired gases and an additional saliva sample were collected 30 min post-exercise. No significant differences were observed in any of the measured variables across menstrual phase. Exercise resulted in an acute rise in estradiol and IL-6; however, E2 was not related to IL-6 at baseline or in response to exercise. IL-6 remained elevated at the end of exercise and was found to be related to energy expenditure from fat, and to total energy expenditure at 60 min, and 30 min post-exercise. No relationships were found between the anti-inflammatory estrogen E2 and the cytokine IL-6. However, relationships were found between IL-6 and indices of substrate metabolism. Based on the data from the current research, IL-6 likely plays a metabolic role in healthy individuals during exercise when released from the muscle as a result of reduced energy availability, acting as a “myokine”, in comparison to inflammation-induced IL-6 release.


Exercise Metabolism Interleukin-6 Estradiol Myokine Substrate use 



The authors would like to thank the subjects for their participation as well as, the Springfield College Graduate Research Fund for financial support of this project.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen J. Ives
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Mark Blegen
    • 3
  • Mary A. Coughlin
    • 2
  • Jan Redmond
    • 4
  • Tracey Matthews
    • 2
  • Vincent Paolone
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Exercise and Sport ScienceUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of Exercise and Sport ScienceSpringfield CollegeSpringfieldUSA
  3. 3.Department of Exercise and Sport ScienceSt. Catherine UniversitySt. PaulUSA
  4. 4.Department of Exercise and Sport ScienceEastern Connecticut UniversityWillimanticUSA

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