Muscle contractions induce interleukin-6 mRNA production in rat skeletal muscles



  • 1The present study explored the hypothesis that interleukin-6 (IL-6) might be locally produced in response to skeletal muscle contractions and whether the production might reflect the type of muscle contraction performed. Rats were anaesthetized and the calf muscles of one limb were stimulated electrically for concentric or eccentric contractions (4 × 10 contractions with 1 min of rest between the 4 series, 100 Hz). The contralateral muscles served as unstimulated controls. The mRNA levels for IL-6, the glucose transport protein GLUT-4 and β-actin in the rat muscles (white and red gastrocnemius and soleus) were quantified by quantitative competitive RT-PCR.
  • 2The IL-6 mRNA level, measured 30 min after the stimulation, increased after both eccentric and concentric contractions and there were no significant differences in IL-6 mRNA levels between the different muscle fibre types. No significant increase in IL-6 mRNA level was seen in the unstimulated contralateral muscle fibres.
  • 3No increase in GLUT-4 mRNA level was detected, indicating that the increase in IL-6 mRNA level was not due to general changes in transcription.
  • 4We conclude that IL-6 is locally produced after muscle contraction, with no significant differences between different muscle fibre types. This local production of IL-6 is not due to general changes in transcription, since no changes in the level of GLUT-4 mRNA were found. The fact that increased IL-6 mRNA levels were seen after both concentric and eccentric contractions indicates that the production of IL-6 is not solely due to muscle damage, seen primarily after eccentric exercise.