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Nutr Res Pract. 2010 Aug;4(4):259-69. doi: 10.4162/nrp.2010.4.4.259. Epub 2010 Aug 31.

Effects of resistance training on the inflammatory response.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, 3624 Horsebarn Road Ext, Storrs, CT 06269, USA.


Resistance training (RT) is associated with reduced risk of low grade inflammation related diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. The majority of the data studying cytokines and exercise comes from endurance exercise. In contrast, evidence establishing a relationship between RT and inflammation is more limited. This review focuses on the cytokine responses both following an acute bout, and after chronic RT. In addition, the effect of RT on low grade systemic inflammation such as individuals at risk for type 2 diabetes is reviewed. Cytokines are secreted proteins that influence the survival, proliferation, and differentiation of immune cells and other organ systems. Cytokines function as intracellular signals and almost all cells in the body either secrete them or have cytokine receptors. Thus, understanding cytokine role in a specific physiological situation such as a bout of RT can be exceedingly complex. The overall effect of long term RT appears to ameliorate inflammation, but the specific effects on the inflammatory cytokine, tumor necrosis factor alpha are not clear, requiring further research. Furthermore, it is critical to differentiate between chronically and acute Interleukin-6 levels and its sources. The intensity of the RT and the characteristics of the training protocol may exert singular cytokine responses and as a result different adaptations to exercise. More research is needed in the area of RT in healthy populations, specifically sorting out gender and age RT acute responses. More importantly, studies are needed in obese individuals who are at high risk of developing low grade systemic inflammatory related diseases. Assuring adherence to the RT program is essential to get the benefits after overcoming the first acute RT responses. Hence RT could be an effective way to prevent, and delay low grade systemic inflammatory related diseases.


Cytokines; IL-6; acute resistance exercise; inflammatory markers; resistance training

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