Exercise training, lymphocyte subsets and their cytokines production: experience of an Italian professional football team and their impact on allergy

Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:429248. doi: 10.1155/2014/429248. Epub 2014 Jun 23.


Background: In recent years, numerous articles have attempted to shed light on our understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms of exercise-induced immunologic changes and their impact on allergy and asthma. It is known that lymphocyte subclasses, cytokines, and chemokines show modifications after exercise, but outcomes can be affected by the type of exercise as well as by its intensity and duration. Interesting data have been presented in many recent studies on mouse models, but few studies on humans have been performed to check the long-term effects of exercise over a whole championship season.

Methods: This study evaluated lymphocyte subsets and their intracellular IL-2, IL-4, TNF-α, and IFN-γ production in professional football (soccer) players, at three stages of the season, to evaluate if alterations occur, particularly in relation to their allergic status.

Results and conclusion: Despite significant mid-season alterations, no significant lymphocyte subclasses count modifications, except for NKs that were significantly higher, were observed at the end. IL-2 and IL-4 producing cells showed a significant decrease (P = 0.018 and P = 0.001, but in a steady fashion for IL-4), confirming the murine data about the potential beneficial effects of aerobic exercise for allergic asthma.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Athletes*
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Football*
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Italy
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Young Adult


  • Cytokines