Exercise as a Model to Study Interactions Between Oxidative Stress and Inflammation

  • Christina Yfanti
  • Søren Nielsen
  • Camilla Scheele
  • Bente Klarlund PedersenEmail author
Part of the Oxidative Stress in Applied Basic Research and Clinical Practice book series (OXISTRESS)


Inflammation is involved in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance, ­atherosclerosis, neurodegeneration, and tumor growth, and low-grade chronic inflammation appears as a key player in the pathogenesis of several chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Given that regular exercise offers protection against all causes of mortality, primarily by protection against atherosclerosis and insulin resistance, we suggest that exercise may exert some of its beneficial health effects by inducing anti-inflammatory actions. During exercise, skeletal muscles release IL-6 into the circulation and muscle-derived IL-6 mediates anti-inflammatory effects. Supplementation with antioxidative vitamins attenuates the systemic IL-6 response to exercise primarily via inhibition of the IL-6 protein release from contracting skeletal muscle per se. Apparently, antioxidants attenuate some of the normal physiological responses to nondamaging exercise. Therefore, the use of antioxidant supplementation may be less desirable from a long-term health perspective. This point of view is partly supported by large-scale studies showing no effect, or even a detrimental effect, of antioxidant supplementation on morbidity and mortality and by studies showing that antioxidants may blunt some of the metabolic effects of regular exercise.


Antioxidants Exercise IL-6 Inflammation Reactive oxygen species 



The Centre of Inflammation and Metabolism is supported by a grant from the Danish National Research Foundation (DG 02-512-555). In addition, support was obtained from the Danish Medical Research Council, and the Commission of the European Communities (contract no. LSHM-CT-2004-005272 EXGENESIS).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christina Yfanti
  • Søren Nielsen
  • Camilla Scheele
  • Bente Klarlund Pedersen
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.The Centre of Inflammation and Metabolism, the Department of Infectious Diseases, RigshospitaletUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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