Eccentric exercise results in a prolonged increase in interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α levels in rat skeletal muscle

  • Qun ZuoEmail author
  • Fang Qu
  • Nan Li
  • Shuchen Wang
  • Jingyun Liu
  • Chang Xu
  • Xinkai Yu
Original Paper


Interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) are well-known cytokines with pro-inflammatory capabilities, and have been shown to be involved in adaptation to exercise as multifaceted myokines. However, the precise role of IL-6 and TNF-α during exercise-induced skeletal muscle injury and subsequent repair processes is not fully understood. In this study, IL-6 and TNF-α were examined in soleus muscles at the gene and protein levels using in situ hybridization and immunohistochemical staining, respectively, and serum levels of IL-6 and TNF-α were determined before and after a 90-min downhill running session in rats. There were no changes in serum levels of IL-6 and TNF-α after exercise, but IL-6 and TNF-α mRNA increased and maintained high expression in muscles for 1–2 weeks after exercise. IL-6 and TNF-a mRNAs were identified in both the cytoplasm and the nuclei of myocytes, as well as in invading inflammatory cells. IL-6 and TNF-α protein mainly distributed in cytoplasm unevenly and had a prolonged expression until 2 weeks after eccentric exercise. Our results demonstrate that there is increased IL-6 and TNF-α expression in skeletal muscle that is induced by eccentric exercise and that the high expression of IL-6 and TNF-α in the long-term phase after eccentric exercise may be more involved in the subsequent recovery of damaged muscle.


Downhill running Damaged muscle Interleukin-6 Tumor necrosis factor-alpha 





Tumor necrosis factor-alpha



This study was supported by: (1) Natural Science Foundation of Shanghai (CN) (No. 10ZR1429000). (2) Key Laboratory of Human Sports Capability Development and Protection (Shanghai University of Sport, No. 11DZ2261100).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qun Zuo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Fang Qu
    • 1
  • Nan Li
    • 2
  • Shuchen Wang
    • 1
  • Jingyun Liu
    • 1
  • Chang Xu
    • 1
  • Xinkai Yu
    • 1
  1. 1.Shanghai University of SportShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Shanghai Research Institute of Sports ScienceShanghaiChina

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