Effects of acute exercise on monocyte subpopulations in metabolic syndrome patients

Cytometry B Clin Cytom. 2018 Jul;94(4):596-605. doi: 10.1002/cyto.b.21387. Epub 2016 Jul 4.


Objective: Acute exercise induces numerous changes in peripheral blood, e.g. counts of leukocytes. CD16pos monocytes, which play a role in the pathogenesis of arteriosclerosis and the metabolic syndrome (MetS), are among the blood cells with the highest fold increase through exercise. So far no studies have investigated the effect of exercise on the blood cell composition of patients with MetS.

Approach and results: Blood cell counts, a wide panel of laboratory tests, as well as lipid and protein content of monocytes and granulocytes were determined in healthy subjects, persons with metabolic risk and MetS patients before and after one minute of exercise at 400 W. Leukocyte counts increased significantly in all groups with CD14pos CD16pos monocytes showing the highest fold-change. In MetS patients the fold increase was smaller. They had a higher resting level of CD14pos CD16pos monocytes and a lower basal ratio of CD16neg /CD16pos monocytes. A similar ratio of these cells was induced in control and risk subjects after exercise. However, absolute counts of mobilized pro-inflammatory monocytes did not differ significantly. Furthermore, we detected a decrease in protein content of monocytes in controls, but not in MetS patients.

Conclusions: As strenuous exercise is able to mobilize the same amount of pro-inflammatory monocytes in MetS patients as in healthy persons, the elevated basal level of these cells in MetS patients is likely to be caused by enhanced maturation rather than chronic mobilization. The removal of these monocytes from the endothelium might be part of the beneficial effect of exercise on vascular disease. © 2016 International Clinical Cytometry Society.

Keywords: exercise; flow cytometry; metabolic syndrome; monocyte subpopulations; monocytes; protein.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / blood*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / immunology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Monocytes / immunology*