The immunomodulating role of exercise in metabolic disease

Trends Immunol. 2014 Jun;35(6):262-9. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2014 Mar 26.


A lack of physical activity is linked to the development of many chronic diseases. It is now well established that the immune system and inflammation play a central role in the development of numerous chronic metabolic diseases including insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and specific types of cancer. Physical exercise elicits potent anti-inflammatory effects that are likely to account for many of the salutary actions of regular exercise on chronic metabolic diseases. Here we review the anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory mechanisms by which the beneficial effects of exercise on chronic metabolic diseases may be mediated.

Keywords: anti-inflammatory; exercise; immune cells; inflammation; metabolic disease; muscle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / immunology
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Immunity
  • Immunomodulation*
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Interleukin-1 / metabolism
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Liver / immunology
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Metabolic Diseases / immunology*
  • Metabolic Diseases / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / immunology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Obesity / immunology
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Toll-Like Receptors / metabolism


  • Interleukin-1
  • Toll-Like Receptors