Does chronic physical activity level modify the airway inflammatory response to an acute bout of exercise in the postprandial period?

Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2017 Feb;42(2):173-180. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2016-0335. Epub 2016 Oct 18.


Recent studies have confirmed that a single high-fat meal (HFM) leads to increased airway inflammation. However, exercise is a natural anti-inflammatory and may modify postprandial airway inflammation. The postprandial airway inflammatory response is likely to be modified by chronic physical activity (PA) level. This study investigated whether chronic PA modifies the airway inflammatory response to an acute bout of exercise in the postprandial period in both insufficiently active and active subjects. Thirty-nine nonasthmatic subjects (20 active, 13 males/7 females) who exceeded PA guidelines (≥150 min moderate-vigorous PA/week) and 19 insufficiently active (6 males/13 females) underwent an incremental treadmill test to exhaustion to determine peak oxygen uptake. Subjects were then randomized to a condition (COND), either remaining sedentary (CON) or exercising (EX) post-HFM. Exercise was performed at the heart rate corresponding to 60% peak oxygen uptake on a treadmill for 1 h post-HFM (63% fat, 10 kcal/kg body weight). Blood lipids and exhaled nitric oxide (eNO: marker of airway inflammation) were measured at baseline and 2 h and 4 h post-HFM. Sputum differential cell counts were performed at baseline and 4 h post-HFM. The mean eNO response for all groups increased at 2 h post-HFM (∼6%) and returned to baseline by 4 h (p = 0.03). There was a time × COND interaction (p = 0.04), where EX had a greater eNO response at 4 h compared with CON. Sputum neutrophils increased at 4 h post-HFM (p < 0.05). These findings suggest that airway inflammation occurs after an HFM when exercise is performed in the postprandial period, regardless of habitual activity level.

Keywords: activité physique; energy balance; exercice physique; exercise; inflammation; physical activity; physiologie pulmonaire; pulmonary physiology; équilibre énergétique.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Breath Tests
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise Tolerance*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meals
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Immunological*
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Pneumonia / immunology
  • Pneumonia / metabolism
  • Pneumonia / prevention & control*
  • Postprandial Period
  • Respiratory Mucosa / immunology*
  • Respiratory Mucosa / metabolism
  • Walking
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Nitric Oxide