Carbohydrate ingestion influences skeletal muscle cytokine mRNA and plasma cytokine levels after a 3-h run

D. C. Nieman, J. M. Davis, D. A. Henson, J. Walberg-Rankin, M. Shute, C. L. Dumke, A. C. Utter, D. M. Vinci, J. A. Carson, A. Brown, W. J. Lee, S. R. McAnulty, L. S. McAnulty

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Sixteen experienced marathoners ran on treadmills for 3 h at ∼70% maximal oxygen consumption (V̇O2 max) on two occasions while receiving 1 l/h carbohydrate (CHO) or placebo (Pla) beverages. Blood and vastus lateralis muscle biopsy samples were collected before and after exercise. Plasma was analyzed for IL-6, IL-10, IL-1 receptor agonist (IL-lra), IL-8, cortisol, glucose, and insulin. Muscle was analyzed for glycogen content and relative gene expression of 13 cytokines by using real-time quantitative RT-PCR. Plasma glucose and insulin were higher, and cortisol, IL-6, IL-10, and IL-1ra, but not IL-8, were significantly lower postexercise in CHO vs. Pla. Change in muscle glycogen content did not differ between CHO and Pla (P = 0.246). Muscle cytokine mRNA content was detected preexercise for seven cytokines in this order (highest to lowest): IL-15, TNF-α, IL-8, IL-1β, IL-12p35, IL-6, and IFN-γ. After subjects ran for 3 h, gene expression above prerun levels was measured for five of these cytokines: IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-8 (large increases), and IL-10 and TNF-α (small increases). The increase in mRNA (fold difference from preexercise) was attenuated in CHO (15.9-fold) compared with Pla (35.2-fold) for IL-6 (P = 0.071) and IL-8 (CHO, 7.8-fold; Pla, 23.3-fold; P = 0.063). CHO compared with Pla beverage ingestion attenuates the increase in plasma IL-6, IL-10, and IL-lra and gene expression for IL-6 and IL-8 in athletes running 3 h at 70% V̇O2 max despite no differences in muscle glycogen content.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1917-1925
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2003


  • Cortisol
  • Glucose
  • Muscle glycogen
  • Real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction


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