Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Health and Human Performance (Exercise Science Option)

Department or School/College

Health and Human Performance

Committee Chair

John Quindry

Commitee Members

Charles Dumke, Laurie Minns, Colin Henderson


myokine, exercise, health, disease, physical activity, medicine


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Biochemistry | Cardiovascular Diseases | Exercise Physiology | Exercise Science | Immune System Diseases | Physiology | Public Health | Sports Sciences


Interleukin-6 (IL-6) was first identified as a pleiotropic cytokine, with a host of body-wide functions. Cytokine functions are characterized by chronically elevated levels within various inflammatory states. In this regard, IL-6 is largely associated with the acute phase response to many stimuli and performs specific actions when produced from certain cell types. Accrued evidence indicates IL-6 release from skeletal muscle often includes myokine functions. Novel myokine functions are adaptive in nature, and as compared to inflammatory/cytokine roles, exhibit a transient time course. Following exercise plasma IL-6 peaks and returns to resting levels within 1-2 hours. In contrast, IL-6 is observed to be consistently elevated in a much longer time course during inflammatory disease states. Production and release of IL-6 is reliant on many stress dependent factors, but from a skeletal muscle perspective, the release appears to be bioenergetic/fatigue dependent. Moreover, long duration in conjunction with high intensity exercise results in the greatest IL-6 production. Association between IL-6 and the metabolic status of skeletal muscle, in regards to glycogen content and glucose uptake, has provided a new avenue of research. The acute increase in circulating IL-6 following exercise indicates divergent roles for IL-6. Recent evidence indicates that IL-6 exerts regulatory cyto-protection in regards to insulin sensitivity and metabolic stress. In addition, recent data suggest that IL-6 is central within mechanisms regarding cardio-protection from ischemic injury. Given these widespread benefits, there is reason to suspect additional myokine roles of IL-6 are on the horizon. Further research efforts with mechanistic approaches should be directed toward investigating skeletal muscle derived IL-6 in regards to exercise-induced protection from metabolic and ischemic injury.



© Copyright 2018 Brendan Hogg Mr.