Chronic low frequency/low volume resistance training reduces pro-inflammatory cytokine protein levels and TLR4 mRNA in rat skeletal muscle.
Skeletal muscle is the source of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, and recently, it has been recognized as an important source of interleukin 6 (IL-6), a cytokine that exerts inhibitory effects on several pro-inflammatory cytokines. Although dynamic chronic resistance training has been shown to produce the known "repeated bout effect", which abolishes the acute muscle damage, performing of high-intensity resistance training has been regarded highly advisable, at least from the hypertrophy perspective. On the other hand, a more therapeutic, "non-damaging" resistance training program, mainly composed of concentric forces, low frequency/low volume of training, and the same exercise, could theoretically benefit the muscle when the main issue is to avoid muscle inflammation (as in the treatment of several "low-grade" inflammatory diseases) because the acute effect of each resistance exercise session could be diminished/avoided, at the same time that the muscle is still being overloaded in a concentric manner. However, the benefits of such "less demanding" resistance training schedule on the muscle inflammatory profile have never been investigated. Therefore, we assessed the protein expression of IL-6, TNF-alpha, IL-10, IL-10/TNF-alpha ratio, and HSP70 levels and mRNA expression of SCF(beta-TrCP), IL-15, and TLR-4 in the skeletal muscle of rats submitted to resistance training. Briefly, animals were randomly assigned to either a control group (S, n = 8) or a resistance-trained group (T, n = 7). Trained rats were exercised over a duration of 12 weeks (two times per day, two times per week). Detection of IL-6, TNF-alpha, IL-10, and HSP70 protein expression was carried out by western blotting and SCF(beta-TrCP) (SKP Cullin F-Box Protein Ligases), a class of enzymes involved in the ubiquitination of protein substrates to proteasomal degradation, IL-15, and TLR-4 by RT-PCR. Our results show a decreased expression of TNF-alpha and TLR4 mRNA (40 and 60%, respectively; p < 0.05) in the plantar muscle from trained, when compared with control rats. In conclusion, exercise training induced decreased TNF-alpha and TLR-4 expressions, resulting in a modified IL-10/TNF-alpha ratio in the skeletal muscle. These data show that, in healthy rats, 12-week resistance training, predominantly composed of concentric stimuli and low frequency/low volume schedule, down regulates skeletal muscle production of cytokines involved in the onset, maintenance, and regulation of inflammation.