European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 113, Issue 1, pp 241–248 | Cite as

Effect of time of day and partial sleep deprivation on plasma concentrations of IL-6 during a short-term maximal performance

  • Salma Abedelmalek
  • Hamdi ChtourouEmail author
  • Asma Aloui
  • Chirine Aouichaoui
  • Nizar Souissi
  • Zouhair Tabka
Original Article


The present study was designed to evaluate the effect of time of day and partial sleep deprivation (PSD) on short-term maximal performance and level of interleukin-6 (IL-6) in trained subjects. In a randomized order, 12 football players were asked to perform a 30-s Wingate test during which we measured the peak (PP) and mean (MP) powers. Measurements were performed at 0800 and 1800 hours, after two nocturnal regimens: (1) a reference normal sleep night (RN) and (2) 4 h of PSD caused by an early awakening. Plasma IL-6 concentrations were measured before (P1), immediately after (P2), and 60 min after the exercise (P3). PP and MP improved significantly from the morning to the afternoon after RN (P < 0.05) and from the afternoon to the morning after PSD (P < 0.05). Compared to RN, PP and MP were not affected by PSD the following morning. However, there was a significant decrease in PP and MP (P < 0.001) after the PSD at 1800 hours. In all conditions, IL-6 and resting core temperature were significantly higher (P < 0.05) in the afternoon than in the morning. In all sessions, IL-6 levels increased significantly from P1 to P2 (P < 0.01) and remained elevated in the afternoon during the recovery period after PSD (P < 0.05). However, no significant difference was observed in IL-6 between P1 and P3 during RN and PSD at 0800 hours. In conclusion, a short-term high-intensity exercise may increase the IL-6 concentrations in the morning and the afternoon. Moreover, IL-6 remained elevated during the recovery period in the afternoon after the PSD at the end of the night.


Anaerobic performance Sleep loss Diurnal variation Interleukin-6 



The authors wish to express their sincere gratitude to all the participants for their maximal effort and cooperation. This study was financially supported by the Ministry of Higher Teaching and Scientific Research, Tunisia.


  1. Arent SM, Senso M, Golem DL, McKeever KH (2010) The effects of theaflavin-enriched black tea extract on muscle soreness, oxidative stress, inflammation, and endocrine responses to acute anaerobic interval training: a randomized, double-blind, crossover study. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 7(1):11PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bar-Or O (1987) The Wingate anaerobic test an update on methodology, reliability and validity. Sports Med 4:381–394PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Burgous I, Richter L, Klein T, Fiebich B, Feige B, Lieb K, Voderholzer U, Riemann D (2006) Increased nocturnal interleukin-6 excretion in patients with primary insomnia: a pilot study. Brain Behav Immun 20:246–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chtourou H, Souissi N (2012) The effect of training at a specific time-of-day: a review. J Strength Cond Res. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31825770a7
  5. Chtourou H, Hammouda O, Souissi H, Chamari K, Chaouachi A, Souissi N (2011a) The effect of Ramadan fasting on physical performances, mood state and perceived exertion in young footballers. Asian J Sports Med 2:177–185PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Chtourou H, Zarrouk N, Chaouachi A, Dogui M, Behm DG, Chamari K, Hug F, Souissi N (2011b) Diurnal variation in Wingate-test performance and associated electromyographic parameters. Chronobiol Int 28:706–713PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chtourou H, Chaouachi A, Driss T, Dogui M, Behm DG, Chamari K, Souissi N (2012a) The effect of training at the same time of day and tapering period on the diurnal variation of short exercise performances. J Strength Cond Res 26:697–708PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Chtourou H, Chaouachi A, Hammouda O, Chamari K, Souissi N (2012b) Listening to music affects diurnal variation in muscle power output. Int J Sports Med 33:43–47PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chtourou H, Driss T, Souissi S, Gam A, Chaouachi A, Souissi N (2012c) The effect of strength training at the same time of the day on the diurnal fluctuations of muscular anaerobic performances. J Strength Cond Res 26:217–225PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chtourou H, Hammouda O, Chaouachi A, Chamari K, Souissi N (2012d) The effect of time-of-day and Ramadan fasting on anaerobic performances. Int J Sports Med 33:142–147PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chtourou H, Jarraya M, Aloui A, Hammouda O, Souissi N (2012e) The effects of music during warm-up on anaerobic performances of young sprinters. Sci Sports. doi: 10.1016/j.scispo.2012.02.006
  12. Chtourou H, Hammouda O, Souissi H, Chamari K, Chaouachi A, Souissi N (2012f) Diurnal variations in physical performances related to football in young soccer players. Asian J Sport Med (in press)Google Scholar
  13. Costill DL, Fink WJ (1974) Plasma volumes changes following exercise and thermal dehydration. J Appl Physiol 37:521–555PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Drust B, Waterhouse J, Atkinson G, Edwards B, Reilly T (2005) Circadian rhythms in sports performance an update. Chronobiol Int 22:21–44PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Edwards B, Waterhouse J, Reilly T (2007) The effects of circadian rhythmicity and time-awake on a simple motor task. Chronobiol Int 24:1109–1124PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Febbraio MA, Pedersen BK (2002) Muscle-derived interleukin- 6: mechanisms for activation and possible biological roles. FASEB J 16:1335–1347PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Green JM, McLester JR, Crews TR, Wickwire PJ, Pritchett RC, Lomax RG (2006) RPE association with lactate and heart rate during high-intensity interval cycling. Med Sci Sports Exerc 38:167–172PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Helge JW, Stallknecht B, Pedersen BK, Galbo H, Kiens B, Richter EA (2003) The effect of graded exercise on IL-6 release and glucose uptake in skeletal muscle. J Physiol 546:299–305PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Horne JA, Östberg O (1976) A self assessment questionnaire to determine morningness–eveningness in human circadian rhythms. Int J Chronobiol 4:97–110PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Irwin MR, Wang M, Campomayor CO, Collado-Hidalgo A, Cole S (2006) Sleep deprivation and activation of morning levels of cellular and genomic markers of inflammation. Arch Intern Med 166:1756–1762PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Meckel Y, Eliakim A, Seraev M, Zaldivar F, Cooper DM, Sagiv M, Nemet D (2009) The effect of a brief sprint interval exercise on growth factors and inflammatory mediators. J Strength Cond Res 23:225–230PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Meckel Y, Nemet D, Bar-Sela S, Radom-Aizik S, Cooper DM, Sagiv M, Eliakim A (2011) Hormonal and inflammatory responses to different types of sprint interval training. J Strength Cond Res 25:2161–2169PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Moldofsky H, Lue FA, Davidson JR, Gorczynski R (1989) Effects of sleep deprivation on human immune functions. FASEB J 3:1972–1977PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Musselman DL, Evans DL, Nemeroff CB (1998) The relationship of depression to cardiovascular disease: epidemiology, biology, and treatment. Arch Gen Psychiatry 55:580–592PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nehlsen-Canarella SL, Fagoaga OR, Nieman DC (1997) Carbohydrate and the cytokine response to 2.5 hours of running. J Appl Physiol 82:1662–1667Google Scholar
  26. Nicolas A, Gauthier A, Bessot N, Moussay S, Davenne D (2005) Time-of-day effects on myoelectric and mechanical properties of muscle during maximal and prolonged isokinetic exercise. Chronobiol Int 22:997–1011PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Nieman DC (1998) Exercise and resistance to infection. Can J Physiol Pharmacol 76:573–580PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Nieman DC, Pedersen BK (1999) Exercise and immune function: recent development. Sports Med 27:73–80PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Nieman DC, Henson DA, Smith LL, Utter AC, Vinci DM, Davis JM, Kaminsky DE, Shute M (2001) Cytokine changes after a marathon race. J Appl Physiol 91:109–114PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Nieman DC, Davis JM, Henson DA, Walberg-Rankin J, Shute M, Dumke CL, Utter AC, Vinci DM, Carson JA, Brown A, Lee WJ, McAnulty SR, McAnulty LS (2003) Carbohydrate ingestion influences skeletal muscle cytokine mRNA and plasma cytokine levels after a 3 h run. J Appl Physiol 94:1917–1925PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Nieman D, Henson D, Gojanovich G, Davis J, Dumke C, Utter A, Murphy A, Pearce S, McAnulty S, McAnulty L (2007) Immune changes: 2 h of continuous vs intermittent cycling. Int J Sports Med 28:625–630PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ostrowski K, Rohde T, Zacho M, Asp S, Pedersen BK (1998) Evidence that IL-6 is produced in skeletal muscle during intense long-term muscle activity. J Physiol 508:949–953PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ostrowski K, Rohde T, Asp S, Schjerling P, Pedersen BK (1999) Pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine balance in strenuous exercise in humans. J Physiol 515:287–291PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Papanicolaou DA, Wilder RL, Manolagas SC, Chrousos GP (1998) The pathophysiologic roles of interleukin-6 in human disease. Ann Intern Med 128:127–137PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Pedersen BK, Hoffman-Goetz L (2000) Exercise and the immune system: regulation, integration, and adaptation. Physiol Rev 80:1055–1081PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Pedersen BK, Steensberg A, Schjerling P (2001) Muscle derived interleukin-6: possible biological effects. J Physiol 536:329–337PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Pedersen BK, Steensberg A, Fischer C, Keller C, Keller P, Plomgaard P, Febbraio M, Saltin B (2003) Searching for the exercise factor—is IL-6 a candidate? J Muscle Res Cell Motil 24:113–119PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Reilly T, Waterhouse J (2006) Altered sleep-wake cycles and food intake: the Ramadan model. Physiol Behav 90:219–228PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Robson-Ansley PJ, De Milander L, Collins M, Noakes TD (2004) Acute interleukin-6 administration impairs athletic performance in healthy, trained male runners. Can J Appl Physiol 29:411–418PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rogers NL, Dorrian J, Dinges DF (2003) Sleep, waking and neurobehavioural performance. Front Biosci 8:1056–1067CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Shearer WT, Reuben JM, Mullington JM, Price NJ, Lee BN, Smith EO, Szuba MP, Van Dongen HP, Dinges DF (2001) Soluble TNF-α receptor 1 and IL-6 plasma levels in humans subjected to the sleep deprivation model of spaceflight. J Allergy Clin Immunol 107:165–170PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Shephard RJ, Shek P (1999) Effects of exercise and training on natural killer cell counts and cytolytic activity: a meta-analysis. Sports Med 28:177–195PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Souissi N, Sesboue B, Gauthier A, Larue J, Davenne D (2003) Effects of one night’s sleep deprivation on anaerobic performance the following day. Eur J Appl Physiol 89:359–366PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Souissi N, Gauthier A, Sesboue B, Larue J, Davenne D (2004) Circadian rhythms in two types of anaerobic cycle leg exercise: force-velocity and 30-s Wingate tests. Int J Sports Med 25:14–19PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Souissi N, Bessot N, Chamari K, Gauthier A, Sesboue B, Davenne D (2007a) Effect of time of day on aerobic contribution to the 30-s Wingate test performance. Chronobiol Int 24:739–748PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Souissi N, Souissi H, Sahli S, Tabka T, Dogui M, Ati J, Davenne D (2007b) Effect of Ramadan on the diurnal variation in short-term high power output. Chronobiol Int 24:991–1005PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Souissi N, Souissi M, Souissi H, Chamari K, Tabka Z, Dogui M, Davenne D (2008) Effect of time of day and partial sleep deprivation on short-term, high-power output. Chronobiol Int 25:1062–1076PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Starkie RL, Arkinstall MJ, Koukoulas I, Hawley JA, Febbraio MA (2001) Carbohydrate ingestion attenuates the increase in plasma interleukin-6, but not skeletal muscle interleukin-6 mRNA, during exercise in humans. J Physiol 533:585–591PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Steensberg A, Keller C, Starkie RL, Osada T, Febbraio MA, Pedersen BK (2002) IL-6 and TNF-alpha expression in, and release from, contracting human skeletal muscle. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 283:1272–1278Google Scholar
  50. Ullum H, Haahr PM, Diamant M, Palmø J, Halkjaer-Kristensen J, Pedersen BK (1994) Bicycle exercise enhances plasma IL-6 but does not change IL-1alpha, IL-1beta, IL-6, or TNF-alpha pre-mRNA in BMNC. J Appl Physiol 77:93–97PubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Vgontzas AN, Papanicolaou DA, Bixler EO, Lotsikas A, Zachman K, Kales A, Prolo P, Wong ML, Licinio J, Gold PW, Hermida RC, Mastorakos G, Chrousos GP (1999) Circadian interleukin-6 secretion and quantity and depth of sleep. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 84:2603–2607PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Vgontzas AN, Papanicolaou DA, Bixler EO, Hopper K, Lotsikas A, Lin HM, Kales A, Chrousos GP (2000) Sleep apnea and daytime sleepiness and fatigue: relation to visceral obesity, insulin resistance, and hypercytokinemia. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 85:1151–1158PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Vgontzas AN, Zoumakis M, Papanicolaou DA, Bixler EO, Prolo P, Lin HM, Vela-Bueno A, Kales A, Chrousos GP (2002) Chronic insomnia is associated with a shift of interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor secretion from nighttime to daytime. Metabolism 7:887–892CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Vgontzas AN, Zoumakis E, Bixler EO, Lin HM, Follett H, Kales A, Chrousos GP (2004) Adverse effects of modest sleep restriction on sleepiness, performance, and inflammatory cytokines. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 89:2119–2126PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Vgontzas AN, Bixler EO, Lin HM, Prolo P, Trakada G, Chrousos GP (2005) IL-6 and its circadian secretion in humans. Neuroimmunomodulation 12:131–140PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Salma Abedelmalek
    • 1
    • 3
  • Hamdi Chtourou
    • 2
    Email author
  • Asma Aloui
    • 2
  • Chirine Aouichaoui
    • 1
  • Nizar Souissi
    • 2
    • 4
  • Zouhair Tabka
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologySousse Faculty of MedicineSousseTunisia
  2. 2.Research Laboratory “Sports Performance Optimization”National Center of Medicine and Science in Sports (CNMSS)TunisTunisia
  3. 3.Research Unit, High Institute of Sport and Physical EducationSfax UniversitySfaxTunisia
  4. 4.High Institute of Sport and Physical EducationKsar-Saïd, Manouba UniversityManoubaTunisia

Personalised recommendations