Experimental intermittent ischemia augments exercise-induced inflammatory cytokine production

Daniel D. Shill, Kristine R. Polley, T. Bradley Willingham, Jarrod A. Call, Jonathan R. Murrow, Kevin K. McCully, Nathan T. Jenkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Acute exercise-induced inflammation is implicated in mediating the beneficial adaptations to regular exercise. Evidence suggests that reduced oxygen and/or blood flow to contracting muscle alters cytokine appearance. However, the acute inflammatory responses to hypoxic/ischemic exercise have been documented with inconsistent results and may not accurately reflect the ischemia produced during exercise in patients with ischemic cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, we determined the extent to which local inflammation is involved in the response to ischemic exercise. Fourteen healthy males performed unilateral isometric forearm contractions for 30 min with and without experimental ischemia. Blood was drawn at baseline, 5 and 10 min into exercise, at the end of exercise, and 30, 60, and 120 min after exercise. Oxygen saturation levels, as measured by near-infrared spectroscopy, were reduced by 10% and 41% during nonischemic and ischemic exercise, respectively. Nonischemic exercise did not affect cytokine values. Ischemia enhanced concentrations of basic fibroblast growth factor, interleukin (IL)-6, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and vascular endothelial growth factor during exercise, but IL-8 was not influenced by ischemic exercise. In conclusion, the present study demonstrates that ischemic, small-muscle endurance exercise elicits local inflammatory cytokine production compared with nonischemic exercise. NEW & NOTEWORTHY We demonstrate that ischemic, smallmuscle endurance exercise elicits local inflammatory cytokine production compared with nonischemic exercise. The present study advances our knowledge of the inflammatory response to exercise in a partial ischemic state, which may be relevant for understanding the therapeutic effects of exercise training for people with ischemic cardiovascular disease-associated comorbidities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)434-441
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood flow restriction
  • Near-infrared spectroscopy
  • Peripheral arterial disease
  • Skeletal muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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