Effect of a physical activity intervention on suPAR levels: A randomized controlled trial

J Sci Med Sport. 2018 Mar;21(3):286-290. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2017.06.018. Epub 2017 Jul 4.


Objectives: Soluble urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR) is a novel inflammatory marker, associated with lifestyle diseases and mortality risk. No studies have investigated whether physical activity may reduce suPAR levels using a randomized controlled design.

Design and methods: suPAR and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels were determined in blood samples from a previous randomized controlled trial with Pakistani immigrants in Norway, 2008. The study included physically inactive men that were randomized to an intervention group (supervised group exercises) or a control group and followed for 5 months. A linear regression model was used and adjusted for age, inactivity level at baseline, and mean difference in CRP levels.

Results: Overall, 80 and 53 participants were included in the intervention and control group, respectively. Obesity and smoking were associated with higher suPAR levels at baseline. The intervention group had a mean suPAR level of 2.65 (95% CI=2.48-2.78)ng/mL at baseline compared to 2.80 (95% CI=2.65-2.95)ng/mL at post-test, and thereby significantly increased suPAR levels after intervention (p=0.02). In the control group, mean suPAR level significantly increased from 2.93 (95% CI=2.68-3.16)ng/mL at baseline to 3.09 (95% CI=2.81-3.38)ng/mL at post-test (p=0.04). When comparing change from baseline to post-test in suPAR levels for the intervention group versus the control group, no significant change in the unadjusted model was found (β=-0.002, 95% CI=-0.219-0.215). Similar results were found for CRP levels.

Conclusion: There was no change in suPAR levels after regular exercise compared to a control group implying that suPAR rather reflects underlying harmful inflammatory responses associated with disease development.

Keywords: C-reactive protein; Exercise; Immunology; Inflammatory; Soluble urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, Urokinase Plasminogen Activator / blood*
  • Sedentary Behavior*


  • Biomarkers
  • Receptors, Urokinase Plasminogen Activator
  • C-Reactive Protein