Skeletal muscle as an immunogenic organ

Søren Nielsen, Bente Klarlund Pedersen


During the past few years, a possible link between skeletal muscle contractile activity and immune changes has been established. This concept is based on the finding that exercise provokes an increase in a number of cytokines. We have suggested that cytokines and other peptides that are produced; expressed and released by muscle fibers and exert either paracrine or endocrine effects should be classified as 'myokines'. Human skeletal muscle has the capacity to express several myokines belonging to distinct different cytokine classes and contractile activity plays a role in regulating the expression of cytokines in skeletal muscle. In the present review, we focus on the myokines interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8 and IL-15 and their possible anti-inflammatory, immunoregulatory and metabolic roles.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Opinion in Pharmacology
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)346-51
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Exercise
  • Glucose/metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation/prevention & control
  • Interleukin-15/physiology
  • Interleukin-6/physiology
  • Interleukin-8/physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal/physiology


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