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We predict that during bouts of physical activity, myokine IL-6 fulfills the three main characteristics of a short-term energy allocator: it is secreted from muscle in response to an energy deficit, it liberates somatic energy through lipolysis and it enhances muscular energy uptake and transiently downregulates immune function. We then extend this model of energy allocation beyond myokine IL-6 to reinterpret the roles that IL-6 plays in chronic inflammation, as well as during COVID-19-associated hyperinflammation and multiorgan failure.

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