Effects of resistance training on cytokines

Int J Sports Med. 2010 Jul;31(7):441-50. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1251994. Epub 2010 Apr 29.


It is speculated that exercise training decreases resting levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and C-reactive protein (CRP); reduces body mass and leptin (LP); and increases adiponectin (AD) and insulin sensitivity. This systematic review analyzed the effectiveness of resistance training (RT) longitudinal clinical studies on AD, LP, CRP and TNF-alpha. Seventeen studies were included and the majority of randomized controlled trials support that RT produces increases in AD, and decreases in both LP and CRP. Greater responses in AD and LP were evident in overweight and obese individuals; while RT appeared to be effective in reducing CRP in obese individuals, and older adults. Additionally, women may be more responsive to RT effects on AD, LP and CRP. Training duration and intensity may affect the response of AD and CRP with greater responses shown with 16 weeks or more of training and/or with intensities greater than 80% of one repetition maximum. No response to RT of TNF-alpha levels was apparent. Although based on a limited number of studies, some of which are uncontrolled non-randomized in design, our review suggests some positive effects of RT programs on cytokine levels, but specifics of the responses in different populations need further elucidation.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipokines / metabolism*
  • Age Factors
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Obesity / complications
  • Overweight / complications
  • Resistance Training*
  • Time Factors


  • Adipokines
  • Cytokines
  • C-Reactive Protein