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Thromb Haemost. 2011 Jan;105(1):122-30. doi: 10.1160/TH10-06-0363. Epub 2010 Oct 26.

Strenuous physical exercise adversely affects monocyte chemotaxis.

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Department of Cardiology, Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, Netherlands.


Physical exercise is important for proper cardiovascular function and disease prevention, but it may influence the immune system. We evaluated the effect of strenuous exercise on monocyte chemotaxis. Monocytes were isolated from blood of 13 young, healthy, sedentary individuals participating in a three-week training program which consisted of repeated exercise bouts. Monocyte chemotaxis and serological biomarkers were investigated at baseline, after three weeks training and after four weeks recovery. Chemotaxis towards vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) and transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) was completely inhibited immediately after training (p<0.01), and remained so after four weeks recovery. Likewise, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1)-induced migration declined after training (p<0.01) and improved only partially during the recovery period. MCP-1 serum levels were significantly reduced after four weeks recovery compared to baseline (p<0.01). Total blood antioxidant capacity was enhanced at this time point (p<0.01). Monocyte chemokinesis, TGF-β1 and nitric oxide serum levels remained unchanged during the study. Strenuous three-week training consisting of repeated exercise bouts in healthy, sedentary individuals reduces monocyte chemotaxis. It remains to be established, whether this is a sound adaptation to increased stimuli or an untoward reaction to overtraining. Nevertheless, the effect remains for several weeks with no exercise.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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