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

Abstract

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.

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Abbreviations

IL-6:

Interleukin-6

TNF-α:

Tumor necrosis factor-alpha

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Acknowledgments

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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Correspondence to Qun Zuo.

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Zuo, Q., Qu, F., Li, N. et al. Eccentric exercise results in a prolonged increase in interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α levels in rat skeletal muscle. J Muscle Res Cell Motil 40, 379–387 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10974-019-09554-6

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Keywords

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