It is recognized that the path from physical inactivity and obesity to lifestyle‐related diseases involves low‐grade inflammation, indicated by elevated plasma levels of inflammatory markers. Interestingly, contracting skeletal muscle is a major source of circulating interleukin‐6 (IL‐6) in response to acute exercise, but with a markedly lower response in trained subjects. As C‐reactive protein (CRP) is induced by IL‐6, we hypothesized that basal levels of IL‐6 and CRP reflect the degree of regular physical activity when compared with other markers of inflammation associated with lifestyle‐related morbidity. Fasting plasma/serum levels of IL‐6, IL‐18, CRP, tumur necrosis factor‐α (TNF‐α), soluble TNF receptor II (sTNF‐RII), and adiponectin were measured in healthy non‐diabetic men and women (n=84). The amount of leisure‐time physical activity (LTPA) was assessed by interview. Obesity was associated with elevated insulin, C‐peptide, triglycerides, low‐density lipoprotein, IL‐6, CRP, and adiponectin (all P<0.05). Importantly, physical inactivity was associated with elevated C‐peptide (P=0.036), IL‐6 (P=0.014), and CRP (P=0.007) independent of obesity, age, gender, and smoking. Furthermore, the LTPA score was inversely associated with IL‐6 (P=0.017) and CRP (P=0.005), but with neither of the other markers. The results indicate that low levels of IL‐6 and CRP – not IL‐18, TNF‐α, sTNF‐RII, or adiponectin – reflect regular physical activity.
Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports – Wiley
Published: Oct 1, 2007
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