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Effect of High- Versus Moderate-Intensity Exercise on Lymphocyte Subpopulations and Proliferative Response
14 March 2008 (online)
The effect of 45 min of high- (80% V̇O2max) versus moderate- (50% V̇O2max) intensity treadmill exercise on circulating leukocyte and lymphocyte subpopulations, catecholamine and cortisol concentrations, and the mitogen-stimulated lymphocyte proliferative response was investigated in 10 well-conditioned (mean V̇O2max 66.0±1.9ml/kg/min), young males (mean age 22.1±1.3 yrs). Blood samples were taken before and immediately after exercise, with three more samples taken during 3.5 h of recovery. Treatment order on the treadmill (graded walking at 7.3±0.1 km/h, 6.5±0.6% grade, versus level running at 16.1±0.3 km/h) was counterbalanced, with subjects acting as their own controls and results analyzed using a 2 × 5 repeated measures ANOVA. The concanavalin A- (Con A) stimulated lymphocyte proliferative response was decreased at 1 h and 2 h post-exercise relative to baseline levels following both exercise-intensity conditions. However, when adjusted on a per-T cell (CD3+) basis to account for the change in number of T cells in the in vitro assay, only the high-intensity exercise condition was associated with a 1-h post-exercise decrease (21%, p = 0.05) in the proliferative response relative to baseline. Exercise at 80% versus 50% V̇O2max resulted in significantly greater increases in cortisol and epinephrine concentrations, providing a physiological rationale for the immediate-post-exercise lymphocytosis, 1- to 3.5-h lymphocytopenia, and the decrease in Con A-stimulated lymphocyte proliferative response (per CD3+ cell) that occurred in greater measure following high-intensity exercise.
Immune system - lymphocytes - lymphocyte transformation - Concanavalin A - epinephrine - cortisol - exertion