Freewheel training decreases pro- and increases anti-inflammatory cytokine expression in mouse intestinal lymphocytes

Brain Behav Immun. 2010 Oct;24(7):1105-15. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2010.05.001. Epub 2010 May 25.


Intestinal inflammation and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) may occur due to imbalances in pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Long-term exercise reduces the risk for IBD. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of long-term wheel running in healthy mice on intestinal lymphocyte (IL) expression of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine proteins. In addition, pro- and anti-apoptotic proteins and the percentage of early apoptotic, late apoptotic, and dead IL were measured with wheel running and following acute aerobic exercise. Female C57BL/6 mice were given 16 weeks of wheel running (WR) or a control condition (No WR) and at the end of training were assigned to a single acute treadmill exercise session with sacrifice immediately, 2h after, or 24h after completion of exercise, or were not run (sedentary) with respect to the acute treadmill exercise. Intestinal lymphocytes were assessed for pro-(TNF-α, IL-17) and anti-(IL-10) inflammatory, and pleiotropic (IL-6) cytokines, and pro-(caspase 3 and 7, AIF) and anti-(Bcl-2) apoptotic protein expression. The percent of early (Annexin(+)) and late (Annexin(+)PI(+)) apoptotic, and dead (PI(+)) IL was determined. WR mice had lower TNF-α and caspase 7, and higher IL-10 and IL-6 expression in IL than No WR mice. A single exposure to intense aerobic treadmill exercise increased pro-(TNF-α) and anti-(IL-10) inflammatory cytokine and pro-apoptotic protein (caspase 3) expression in IL. The percent of early and late apoptotic, and dead IL were higher after acute exercise. Although long-term voluntary wheel running did not protect against acute exercise-induced changes in IL cytokine expression or apoptosis, there was an overall 'anti-inflammatory' effect observed as a result of wheel running in healthy mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / immunology
  • Apoptosis Inducing Factor / metabolism
  • Blotting, Western
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Caspase 7 / metabolism
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Down-Regulation / immunology
  • Female
  • Interleukin-10 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-17 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism
  • Intestines / cytology
  • Intestines / immunology*
  • Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Motor Activity / immunology*
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal / psychology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism
  • Running / psychology
  • Time Factors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism
  • Up-Regulation / immunology


  • Apoptosis Inducing Factor
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-17
  • Interleukin-6
  • AIFM1 protein, mouse
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interleukin-10
  • Caspase 3
  • Caspase 7