Moderate regular exercises reduce inflammatory response for physical stress

Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2012 Jan-Mar;56(1):7-14.


Exercises induce pro-inflammatory cytokines. We assessed the effect of different grades of exercises on inflammatory cytokine response. Twenty healthy volunteers performed a single bout of moderate exercise, a single bout of strenuous exercise and one month regular moderate exercise using standardized 10m Shuttle Walk Test. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) and Tumour Necrosis Factor Alpha (TNF-alpha) were estimated by Sandwich ELISA method after each exercise regime. Statistics were run using SPSS software version 11.0, Systat software. Repeated measures ANOVA has been used for analysis of IL-6 values and Friedman test has been used for analyzing TNF-alpha and IL-6 values. Twenty healthy volunteers (18 to 30 years) were chosen for this study. The mean and SEM of plasma levels (pg/ml) of IL-6 before exercise was 10.70 +/- 1.11 pg/ml, whereas, after acute moderate exercise and acute strenuous exercise it was 12.00 +/- 1.09 pg/ml and 13.35 +/- 0.89 pg/ml respectively. interestingly, after one month of moderate exercise the values decreased to; 8.80 +/- 0.65 pg/ml. Mean and SEM of TNF-alpha before exercise was 121.78 +/- 29.06 pg/ml. With acute moderate exercise and after acute strenuous exercise the values were 132.90 +/- 35.75 pg/ml and 112.05 +/- 29.89 pg/ml respectively. After one month moderate exercise the levels decreased to 94.95 +/- 27.29 pg/ml. The observed changes in both IL-6 and TNF-alpha levels before and after both moderate and strenuous exercise were statistically significant. Although there was a slight decrease in the value of both the cytokines after one month of regular moderate exercise compared to baseline value, the difference in the values was not statistically significant. However, both IL-6 and TNF-alpha levels showed overall statistically significant difference among the different grades of exercise. Plasma IL-6 and TNF-alpha increase with acute moderate exercise and IL-6 increases further with acute strenuous exercise. Their levels tend to fall below baseline with one month of regular moderate exercise indicating that regular moderate exercise has beneficial effects.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / prevention & control
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Male
  • Stress, Physiological*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / blood


  • Interleukin-6
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha