Moderate exercise training modulates cytokine profile and sleep in elderly people

Cytokine. 2012 Dec;60(3):731-5. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2012.07.028. Epub 2012 Aug 20.


Aging causes several physiological alterations, including alterations in sleep. It is possible that difficulty sleeping can be exacerbated by increased inflammation in older individuals. Moderate exercise training may be a modality of non-pharmacological treatment for sleep disorders and inflammation. We aimed to assess the effects of moderate exercise training on sleep in elderly people as well as their cytokine profiles. Additionally, we examined the effect of exercise training on quality of life parameters using a SF-36 questionnaire. Twenty-two male, sedentary, healthy, elderly volunteers performed moderate training for 60 min/day, 3 days/week for 24 week at a work rate equivalent to their ventilatory aerobic threshold. The environment was kept at a temperature of 23 ± 2°C, with a humidity of 60 ± 5%. Blood and polysomnograph were collected twice: at baseline (1 week before training began) and after 6 months of training. Training increased aerobic capacity parameters (p<0.0001), decreased REM latency (p<0.02), and decreased time awake (p<0.05). After training, the levels of IL-6 (p<0.0001) and TNF-α (p<0.0001) and the ratio of TNF-α/IL-10 (p<0.0001) were decreased, whereas IL-10 levels were increased after training (p<0.001). Furthermore, exercise training was shown to improve quality of life parameters. Our results suggest that 6 months of training can improve sleep in the elderly and is related to the anti-inflammatory effect of moderate training, which modifies cytokine profiles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Body Composition
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Male
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Cytokines