Preventing or Reversing Immunosenescence

Can Exercise Be an Immunotherapy?

Adriana L de Araújo; Léia CR Silva; Juliana Ruiz Fernandes; Gil Benard


Immunotherapy. 2013;5(8):879-893. 

In This Article

No Effect

Nieman et al. performed a transversal study in which they evaluated sedentary elderly women (67–85 years old) who were subjected to a 12-week moderate walking program or to flexibility exercises. Although an improvement in VO2 max of 12.6% was observed in the walking group, no effect was observed regarding such immunological parameters such as NK-cell function, T-cell number and lymphoproliferative response to PHA.[126]

Two other studies with similar but slightly longer (6 and 12 months) interventional programs applied in sedentary individuals revealed similar results. There was an improvement in the VO2 max in the group performing moderate aerobic activity, but no effect on such immune parameters as lymphocyte subpopulations, proliferative responses and NK-cell activity.[127,128]

Different protocols that investigated the effect of resistance exercise training (ranging from 6 weeks to 6 months) on the immunity of elderly subjects showed no changes in different aspects of peripheral blood mononuclear cell subpopulations, including their cell number, cytokine production and lymphocyte proliferation, as well as delayed-type hypersensitivity responses, compared with the pre-exercise levels.[129–131]

The evaluation of a larger set of immunological parameters was performed by Raso et al..[132] NK-cell cytotoxic activity, lymphoproliferative response to PHA and lymphocyte subpopulation determination (CD3, CD19, CD56, CD4 and CD8) and phenotype (CD25, CD28, CD45RA, CD45RO, CD69, CD95 and HLA-DR) were determined in elderly women subjected to a 12-month moderate resistance training program. Although the program resulted in increased muscle strength, no changes in the immunological parameters were observed compared with either a control group or the pre-exercise levels.