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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1997 Mar;29(3):345-54.

Effect of exhaustive exercise stress on the cytokine response.

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  • 1Department of Transfusion Medicine, Eberhard-Karls-Universität, Tübingen, GERMANY.


Fifteen athletes were investigated 24 h before, 1 h after, and 20 h after an exhaustive exercise stress test (mean duration 68 min). Testing for cytokines was done in serum, urine, and the supernatants of whole blood cell cultures, which were stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), concanavalin A (Con A), or phythaemagglutinin (PHA). Elevated levels of interleukin 6 (IL-6) and soluble IL-2 receptor (sIL-2R) were found 1 h after the run in both serum and urine samples. TNF-alpha in serum was also increased, whereas IL-2 in urine was decreased after the exercise. All other testings in serum and urine (including IFN-gamma) gave borderline or negative results. In cell cultures, the LPS-induced release of the inflammatory cytokines TNF-alpha, IL-1, and IL-6 was suppressed 1 h after exercise. Also, the Con-A-induced and LPS-induced release of IFN-gamma, and the PHA-induced release of IL-2 were suppressed 1 h after exercise. In contrast, Con-A-induced release of IL-2 was mildly increased after the run. We conclude that exercise of the intensity and duration described here causes an activation of the immune system, which is immediately counter-regulated. Twenty hours after the exercise, most of the observed changes were back to pre-exercise levels, indicating only a short duration for this suppressive counter-regulation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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