The effect of acute exhaustive and moderate intensity exercises on nasal cytokine secretion and clinical symptoms in allergic rhinitis patients

Asian Pac J Allergy Immunol. 2012 Sep;30(3):185-92.


Background: Allergic rhinitis is an inflammation of the nasal mucosa in response to allergens. There is evidence that exercise can significantly improve personal health and has positive effects on immune function. However, the effects of acute exercise on the inflammatory response and clinical symptoms in patients with allergic rhinitis are still unclear.

Purpose: The aim of the present study was to determine the effects of acute exhaustive and moderate exercises on cytokine levels and clinical symptoms in patients with allergic rhinitis.

Methods: Thirteen allergic rhinitis patients (AR) and 14 healthy subjects (C) were required to complete two running exercise protocols, which included an exhaustive exercise bout using the Bruce protocol performed to exhaustion and moderate exercise performed at 65-70% HRR for 30 minutes. Physiological characteristics, allergic rhinitis symptoms, and cytokine secretions and serum levels were comparatively analyzed before and after each type of exercise.

Results: The total immunoglobulin E levels in the AR group were significantly higher than in C group (p < 0.05). Rhinitis symptoms scores were significantly decreased (p < 0.05) after both exhaustive exercise (7.69 to 1.23 points) and moderate exercise (6.46 to 0.53 points) in the AR group. The ratio of interleukin-2 and interleukin-4 (IL-2/IL-4) in nasal secretions after moderate exercise was significantly higher than those after exhaustive exercise in both the C and AR groups (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: The data demonstrate that both exhaustive and moderate-intensity exercise resulted in a significant improvement in the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. However, a significantly enhanced IL-2/IL-4 ratio was found following acute moderate exercise intensity. We propose that moderate-intensity exercise is more effective than exhaustive exercise in enhancing immune function for allergic rhinitis patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Interleukin-2 / blood*
  • Interleukin-2 / immunology
  • Interleukin-4 / blood*
  • Interleukin-4 / immunology
  • Male
  • Nasal Mucosa / immunology*
  • Nasal Mucosa / physiopathology
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / blood
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / immunology*
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / physiopathology
  • Running / physiology


  • Interleukin-2
  • Interleukin-4
  • Immunoglobulin E