T helper cell cytokine profiles after endurance exercise

Michael W. Kakanis*, Jonathan Peake, Ekua W. Brenu, Michael Simmonds, Bon Gray, Sonya M. Marshall-Gradisnik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
168 Downloads (Pure)


Endurance exercise can cause immunosuppression and increase the risk of upper respiratory illness. The present study examined changes in the secretion of T helper (Th) cell cytokines after endurance exercise. Ten highly trained road cyclists [mean±SEM: age 24.2±1.7 years; height 1.82±0.02 m; body mass 73.8±2.0 kg; peak oxygen uptake 65.9±2.3 mL/(kg·;min)] performed 2 h of cycling exercise at 90% of the second ventilatory threshold. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated and stimulated with phytohemagglutinin. Plasma cortisol concentrations and the concentration of Th1/Th2/Th17 cell cytokines were examined. Data were analyzed using both traditional statistics and magnitude-based inferences. Results revealed a significant decrease in plasma cortisol at 4-24 h postexercise compared with pre-exercise values. Qualitative analysis revealed postexercise changes in concentrations of plasma cortisol, IL-2, TNF, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, and IL-17A compared with pre-exercise values. A Th1/Th2 shift was evident immediately postexercise. Furthermore, for multiple cytokines, including IL-2 and TNF (Th1), IL-6 and IL-10 (Th2), and IL-17 (Th17), no meaningful change in concentration occurred until more than 4 h postexercise, highlighting the duration of exercise-induced changes in immune function. These results demonstrate the importance of considering "clinically" significant versus statistically significant changes in immune cell function after exercise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)699-706
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Interferon and Cytokine Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2014


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