Interleukin-6 (IL-6) has been recently shown to play a central role in glucose homeostasis, since it stimulates the production and secretion of Glucagon-like Peptide-1 (GLP-1) from intestinal L-cells and pancreas, leading to an enhanced insulin response. In resting conditions, IL-6 is mainly produced by the adipose tissue whereas, during exercise, skeletal muscle contractions stimulate a marked IL-6 secretion as well. Available mathematical models describing the effects of exercise on glucose homeostasis, however, do not account for this IL-6 contribution. This study aimed at developing and validating a system model of exercise’s effects on plasma IL-6 dynamics in healthy humans, combining the contributions of both adipose tissue and skeletal muscle. A two-compartment description was adopted to model plasma IL-6 changes in response to oxygen uptake’s variation during an exercise bout. The free parameters of the model were estimated by means of a cross-validation procedure performed on four different datasets. A low coefficient of variation (<10%) was found for each parameter and the physiologically meaningful parameters were all consistent with literature data. Moreover, plasma IL-6 dynamics during exercise and post-exercise were consistent with literature data from exercise protocols differing in intensity, duration and modality. The model successfully emulated the physiological effects of exercise on plasma IL-6 levels and provided a reliable description of the role of skeletal muscle and adipose tissue on the dynamics of plasma IL-6. The system model here proposed is suitable to simulate IL-6 response to different exercise modalities. Its future integration with existing models of GLP-1-induced insulin secretion might provide a more reliable description of exercise’s effects on glucose homeostasis and hence support the definition of more tailored interventions for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
Morettini, M., Palumbo, M. C., Sacchetti, M., Castiglione, F., & Mazzà, C. (2017). A system model of the effects of exercise on plasma Interleukin-6 dynamics in healthy individuals: Role of skeletal muscle and adipose tissue. PLoS ONE, 12(7). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0181224