Pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine responses to a 164-km road cycle ride in a hot environment

Hui Ying Luk, Danielle E. Levitt, Elaine C. Lee, Matthew S. Ganio, Brendon P. McDermott, Brian R. Kupchak, Brian K. McFarlin, David W. Hill, Lawrence E. Armstrong, Jakob L. Vingren

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10 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the circulating cytokine response to a recreational 164-km road cycling event in a high ambient temperature and to determine if this response was affected by self-paced exercise time to completion. Methods: Thirty-five men and five women were divided into tertiles based on time to complete the cycling event: slowest (SLOW), moderate (MOD), and fastest (FAST) finishers. Plasma samples were obtained 1–2 h before (PRE) and immediately after (IP) the event. A high-sensitivity multiplex assay kit was used to determine the concentration of plasma anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-4, IL-5, IL-10, IL-13) and pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-2, IL-6, IL-7, IL-8, IL-12, GM-CSF, IFN-γ, and TNF-α). Results: The concentration of plasma IL-10 increased significantly (p < 0.05) in FAST and MOD groups and had no change in the SLOW group in response to a 164-km cycling event in the hot environment. Other cytokine responses were not influenced by the Time to completion. Pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β, IL-2, GM-CSF, and TNF-α decreased; whereas, IL-6 and IL-8 increased from PRE to IP. Additionally, anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-4 and IL-13 decreased. Conclusions: Completion of a 164-km cycling event induced substantial changes in circulating pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine concentrations. Time to completion appears to have a greater influence on the systemic IL-10 response than the environmental condition; however, it is possible that a threshold for absolute intensity must be reached for environmental conditions to affect the IL-10 response to exercise. Thus, cyclists from the FAST/MOD groups appear more likely to experience an acute transient immune suppression than cyclists from the SLOW group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2007-2015
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean journal of applied physiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Anti-inflammatory cytokine
  • Exercise
  • Heat
  • Immune suppression
  • Pro-inflammatory cytokine
  • Ultra-endurance


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