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Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2016 Aug;41(8):803-8. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2015-0640. Epub 2016 Mar 18.

Interleukin-6 and associated cytokine responses to an acute bout of high-intensity interval exercise: the effect of exercise intensity and volume.

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a Cardiff School of Sport, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff CF23 6XD, UK.
b Institute of Sport & Exercise Science, University of Worcester, Henwick Grove, Worcester WR2 6AJ, UK.
c Cardiff School of Health Sciences, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff CF5 2YB, UK.


Acute increases in interleukin (IL)-6 following prolonged exercise are associated with the induction of a transient anti-inflammatory state (e.g., increases in IL-10) that is partly responsible for the health benefits of regular exercise. The purposes of this study were to investigate the IL-6-related inflammatory response to high-intensity interval exercise (HIIE) and to determine the impact of exercise intensity and volume on this response. Ten participants (5 males and 5 females) completed 3 exercise bouts of contrasting intensity and volume (LOW, MOD, and HIGH). The HIGH protocol was based upon standard HIIE protocols, while the MOD and LOW protocols were designed to enable a comparison of exercise intensity and volume with a fixed duration. Inflammatory cytokine concentrations were measured in plasma (IL-6, IL-10) and also determined the level of gene expression (IL-6, IL-10, and IL-4R) in peripheral blood. The plasma IL-6 response to exercise (reported as fold changes) was significantly greater in HIGH (2.70 ± 1.51) than LOW (1.40 ± 0.32) (P = 0.04) and was also positively correlated to the mean exercise oxygen uptake (r = 0.54, P < 0.01). However, there was no change in anti-inflammatory IL-10 or IL-4R responses in plasma or at the level of gene expression. HIIE caused a significant increase in IL-6 and was greater than that seen in low-intensity exercise of the same duration. The increases in IL-6 were relatively small in magnitude, and appear to have been insufficient to induce the acute systemic anti-inflammatory effects, which are evident following longer duration exercise.


HIIT; anti-inflammatoires; anti-inflammatory; cytokines; exercice physique; exercise; high-intensity; intensité élevée; interval; intervalle

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