Age-related loss of associations between acute exercise-induced IL-6 and oxidative stress

Jennifer M. Sacheck, Joseph G. Cannon, Koichiro Hamada, Edouard Vannier, Jeffrey B. Blumberg, Ronenn Roubenoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


IL-6 mediates many aspects of the exercise-induced acute-phase response, including upregulation of antioxidant defenses. Moreover, IL-6 synthesis is regulated in part by oxidative stress. This investigation tested the hypothesis that an IL-6-mediated acute-phase response after exercise provides negative-feedback protection against exercise-induced oxidative stress. Healthy young (n = 16, 26.4 ± 1.8 yr) and older men (n = 16, 71.1 ± 2.0 yr) ran downhill for 45 min at 75% maximal oxygen consumption before and after a 12-wk period of supplementation with vitamin E (1,000 IU/day) or placebo. Circulating IL-6 and soluble IL-6 receptors, peripheral mononuclear cell production of IL-6, and IL-6 transcripts in muscle were measured before and within a 72-h time window after each acute exercise bout. At all time points plasma IL-6, IL-6 bioavailability, and C-reactive protein were higher in the older men; yet in response to exercise, young and older subjects experienced similar increases in these factors. Although the magnitude of postexercise changes in acute-phase variables was independent of age, correlations among plasma, mononuclear cell, and muscle IL-6 and oxidative stress were evident only in young men (R2 = 0.64, 0.35, and 0.33, respectively). These changes in circulating IL-6 were closely associated with a prooxidant state (R2 = 0.47), whereas muscle IL-6 mRNA correlated with an antioxidant state (R2 = 0.65). Supplementation with vitamin E did not affect exercise-induced responses or differences between the young and old men in a consistent manner. Therefore, oxidative stress is linked to the acute-phase response after exercise in young men, but not in older men who had elevated acute-phase reactants, suggesting that further research is warranted to determine the basis for these differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E340-E349
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2006


  • C-reactive protein
  • F -isoprostanes
  • Glycoprotein 130
  • Interleukin-6
  • Oxygen radical absorbance capacity
  • Soluble interleukin-6 receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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