What are myokines?

Myokines are peptides and cytokines about which relatively little is known. Its name was first uttered in 2003 and it was not until five years later that the first one, myostatin, was isolated.

They participate in metabolic changes and are produced by skeletal muscle in response to physical exercise, promoting physical benefits, such as tissue regeneration, as well as mental benefits.

Not all physical exercise is capable of generating myokines. The higher the exercise intensity and the longer the exercise duration, the greater the effect.

Exercises such as cycling, running and multi-joint strength exercises produce greater changes in myokine production.

Functions of myokines

Although much remains to be known about myokines, it could be said that they act in a way that protects the body against certain diseases.

When skeletal muscle is stimulated, it releases myokines that make up an anti-inflammatory framework.

Interleukin-6, musclin, myostatin, follistatin, protein 1 and apelin are some of the myokines with anti-inflammatory properties.

Some studies indicate that physical inactivity, without relating it to obesity, favors the accumulation of visceral fat, which leads to increased insulin resistance in the body and the development of atherosclerosis, neurodegeneration and tumor growth.

According to the researchers, myokines are able to prevent the growth of malignant tumor cells.

Most important myokines

There may be as many as 500 types of myokines or myokines. So far, the most outstanding ones are:

  • Interleukin-6, which has anti-inflammatory activity and promotes increased glycolysis.
  • Interleukin-15: regulates metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.
  • LIF (Leukemia Inhibitory Factor): promotes muscle hypertrophy and regeneration.
  • SPARC: inhibits the creation of new fat cells and participates in glucose metabolism.
  • Neurotropins: promote the growth of neurons from exercise.