Physical activity and plasma interleukin-6 in humans – effect of intensity of exercise
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The present study included data from three marathon races to investigate the hypothesis that a relationship exists between running intensity and elevated concentrations of interleukin (IL)-6 in plasma. The study included a total of 53 subjects whose mean age was 30.6 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.4] years, mean body mass 77.7 (95%CI 2.0) kg, mean maximal oxygen uptake (V˙O2max) 59.3 (95%CI 1.4) ml · min−1 · kg−1, and who had participated in the Copenhagen Marathons of 1996, 1997 or 1998, achieving a mean running time of 206 (95%CI 7) min. Running intensity was calculated as running speed divided by V˙O2max. The concentration of IL-6 in plasma peaked immediately after the run. There was a negative correlation between peak IL-6 concentration and running time (r=−0.30, P < 0.05) and a positive correlation between peak IL-6 concentration and running intensity (r=0.32, P < 0.05). The IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra) plasma concentration peaked 1.5 h after the run and there was a positive correlation between the peak plasma concentrations of IL-6 and IL-1ra (r=0.39, P < 0.01). Creatine kinase (CK) plasma concentration peaked on the 1st day after the run, but no association was found between peak concentrations of IL-6 and CK. In conclusion, the results confirmed the hypothesized association between plasma IL-6 concentration and running intensity, but did not confirm the previous finding of a connection between IL-6 plasma concentration and muscle damage.
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