SIL-6R is related to weekly training mileage and psychological well-being in athletes

Tom Cullen, Andrew W. Thomas, Richard Webb, Thom Phillips, Michael G. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


INTRODUCTION: IL-6 has been ascribed both positive and negative roles in the context of exercise and training. The dichotomous nature of IL-6 signalling appears to be determined by the respective concentration of its receptors (both membrane-bound (IL-6R) and soluble (sIL-6R) forms). The purpose of the present study was to investigate the response of sIL-6R to long-term training, and to investigate the relationship between sIL-6R, self-reported measures of wellbeing, and upper respiratory illness symptoms (URS) in highly-trained endurance athletes. METHODS: Twenty-nine athletes provided resting blood samples, and completed wellbeing and illness monitoring questionnaires, on a weekly basis for a period of 18 weeks during a winter training block. RESULTS: URS were not correlated to concentrations of sIL-6R or cortisol, but there was a non-significant trend (P=0.08) for the most illness-prone athletes (as defined by self-reported illness questionnaire data) to exhibit higher average sIL-6R concentrations compared to the least ill (23.7+/-4.3 Vs 20.1+/-3.8 ng/ml). Concentrations of sIL-6R were positively correlated to subjective measures of stress (r=0.64, P=0.004) and mood (r=0.49, P=0.02), but were negatively correlated to sleep quality (r=-0.43, P=0.05) and cortisol concentration (r=-0.17, P=0.04). In a sub-group of 10 athletes, weekly training distance was quantified by coaching staff, and this negatively correlated with sIL-6R in the following week (r=-0.74, P
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1176-1183
Number of pages8
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Athletes
  • Fatigue
  • Overreaching
  • SIL-6R


Dive into the research topics of 'SIL-6R is related to weekly training mileage and psychological well-being in athletes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this