The detection and measurement of interleukin-6 in venous and capillary blood samples, and in sweat collected at rest and during exercise

Purpose: This study aimed to quantify the relationship between venous and capillary blood sampling methods for the measurement of plasma interleukin-6 (IL-6). A parallel study was conducted to determine the possibility of measuring IL-6 in sweat using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and investigate the relationship between plasma- and sweat-derived measures of IL-6. Methods: Twelve male participants were recruited for the measurement of IL-6 at rest and during exercise (study 1). An additional group of five female participants was recruited for the measurement of IL-6 in venous blood versus sweat at rest and following exercise (study 2). In study 1, venous and capillary blood samples were collected at rest and in response to exercise. In study 2, venous and sweat samples were collected following exercise. Results: Mean plasma IL-6 concentration was not different between venous and capillary blood sampling methods either at rest (4.27 ± 5.40 vs. 4.14 ± 4.45 pg ml−1), during (5.40 ± 5.17 vs. 5.58 ± 6.34 pg ml−1), or in response to exercise (6.95 ± 6.37 vs. 6.99 ± 6.74 pg ml−1). There was no IL-6 detectable in sweat either at rest or following exercise. Conclusion: There are no differences in the measurement of plasma IL-6 using either venous or capillary blood sampling methods. Capillary measurement represents a minimally invasive way of measuring IL-6 and detecting changes in IL-6, which are linked to fatigue and overtraining.