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J Physiol Biochem. 2013 Mar;69(1):85-95. doi: 10.1007/s13105-012-0191-x. Epub 2012 Jul 19.

Plasma levels of interleukin-6 and interleukin-18 after an acute physical exercise: relation with post-exercise energy intake in twins.

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Department of Nutrition, Diabetes and Metabolism, School of Medicine, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Alameda 340, Santiago, Chile.


Increased interleukin-6 (IL-6) plasma levels have been described to occur during physical exercise. A relative reduction in energy intake after physical activity has also been reported after exercise, indicating a possible involvement of IL-6 as an anorexigenic factor. Given the possible effect of interleukins on appetite, we assessed whether a controlled physical activity bout is related with changes in IL-6, IL-6 soluble receptor (IL-6sR), gp130 and interleukin-18 (IL-18) plasma levels, as well as their relation with post-exercise energy intake. A co-twin intervention study was carried out with five young male monozygotic twin pairs. One co-twin performed 45 min of submaximal exercise on a treadmill near the anaerobic threshold ending with 7 min at 90 % VO(2) max, while his co-twin remained non-active. Ad libitum energy intake was tested through a carbohydrate-rich meal test. Venous blood samples were drawn at baseline, immediately after exercise and after the meal ingestion. Plasma concentrations of IL-6, IL-6sR, gp130 and IL-18 were measured via ELISA. IL-6 plasma levels increased after physical activity bout (2.6-fold change; p = 0.04). A less marked trend, although still significant, was observed for plasma levels of IL-6sR and gp130. Plasma levels of IL-18 did not significantly change during exercise. The twins who exercised exhibited significantly lower energy intake (181 versus 1,195 kcal; p = 0.04), compared to the co-twins who remained resting. The present study in monozygotic twins shows increased IL-6 plasma levels after acute physical exercise with a significant reduction in energy intake, supporting a linkage between IL-6 and acute post-exercise eating behaviour.

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