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J Physiol Pharmacol. 2006 Nov;57 Suppl 10:43-51.

The role of IL-6 in mediating the anti-inflammatory effects of exercise.

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The Centre of Inflammation and Metabolism, Department of Infectious Diseases and CMRC, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Health Sciences, Denmark.


Regular exercise offers protection against all cause mortality and there is evidence from randomised intervention studies that physical training is effective as a treatment in patients with chronic heart diseases, type 2 diabetes and symptoms related to the metabolic syndrome. Chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer are associated with chronic low-grade systemic inflammation. It has been demonstrated that regular exercise induces anti-inflammatory effects with elevated levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines and suppression of TNF-alpha production. Thereby, exercise offers protection against TNF-alpha-induced insulin resistance. Otherwise, the exercise-induced production and release of IL-6 from myofibers may contribute to abrogate an atherogenic lipid profile, which is often associated with chronic diseases. This review focuses on the anti-inflammatory effects of exercise and how this may contribute to mediate the beneficial health effects of exercise training in patients with chronic diseases associated with chronic low-grade inflammation.

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