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Endocr J. 2011;58(3):211-5. Epub 2011 Feb 5.

Upregulation of circulating IL-15 by treadmill running in healthy individuals: is IL-15 an endocrine mediator of the beneficial effects of endurance exercise?

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Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Pain Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Shriners Hospitals for Children, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.


The beneficial effects of endurance exercise include insulin-sensitization and reduction of fat mass. Limited knowledge is available about the mechanisms by which endurance exercise exerts the salutary effects. Myokines, cytokines secreted by skeletal muscle, have been recognized as a potential mediator. Recently, a role of skeletal muscle-derived interleukin-15 (IL-15) in improvement of fat-lean body mass composition and insulin sensitivity has been proposed. Yet, previous studies have reported that endurance training does not increase production or secretion of IL-15 in skeletal muscle. Here, we show that in opposition to previous findings, 30-min treadmill running at 70% of age-predicted maximum heart rate resulted in a significant increase in circulating IL-15 level in untrained healthy young men. These findings suggest that IL-15 might play a role in the systemic anti-obesogenic and insulin-sensitizing effects of endurance exercise, not only as a paracrine and autocrine but also as an endocrine factor.

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