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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2008 (2008), Article ID 109502, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2008/109502
Review Article

Exercise as a Mean to Control Low-Grade Systemic Inflammation

The Centre of Inflammation and Metabolism (CIM), Department of Infectious Diseases and CMRC, Rigshospitalet, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 9, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark

Received 29 July 2008; Accepted 11 November 2008

Academic Editor: Eric Morand

Copyright © 2008 Neha Mathur and Bente Klarlund Pedersen. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Chronic noncommunicable diseases (CNCDs), which include cardiovascular disease, some cancers, for example, colon cancer, breast cancer, and type 2 diabetes, are reaching epidemic proportions worldwide. It has now become clear that low-grade chronic inflammation is a key player in the pathogenesis of most CNCDs. Given that regular exercise offers protection against all causes of mortality, primarily by protection against atherosclerosis and insulin resistance, we suggest that exercise may exert some of its beneficial health effects by inducing anti-inflammatory actions. Recently, IL-6 was introduced as the first myokine, defined as a cytokine, which is produced and released by contracting skeletal muscle fibres, exerting its effects in other organs of the body. We suggest that skeletal muscle is an endocrine organ and that myokines may be involved in mediating the beneficial effects against CNCDs associated with low-grade inflammation.