Effect of Aerobic Exercise on Inflammatory Markers in Healthy Middle-Aged and Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Front Aging Neurosci. 2019 Apr 26:11:98. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2019.00098. eCollection 2019.

Abstract

Background: Chronic inflammation plays a significant role in accelerating the aging process and is closely associated with the initiation and progression of a broad range of age-related diseases. Physical exercise is considered beneficial in alleviating these conditions, but the effects of aerobic exercise on inflammatory markers in a healthy population should be furtherly clarified. Objective: The purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to evaluate the effect of aerobic exercise on inflammatory markers in middle-aged and older adults. Methods: The literature search was conducted utilizing PubMed, Web of Science, Embase, and the Cochrane Library from their inception through April 2018, and the reference lists were screened to identify appropriate studies. Only randomized controlled trials that investigated the effect of aerobic exercise on inflammatory markers in middle-aged and older adults were eligible for this review. Results: Eleven studies involving 1,250 participants were retrieved from the databases for analysis. The pooled results showed that aerobic exercise significantly reduced inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein (CRP): SMD = 0.53, 95% CI 0.26-0.11, p = 0.0002; tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α): SMD = 0.75, 95% CI 0.31-1.19, p = 0.0007; interleukin 6 (IL-6): SMD = 0.75, 95% CI 0.31-1.19, p = 0.0007). No significant improvement was found in relation to interleukin 4 (IL-4). Conclusions: Aerobic exercise may have a positive effect on reduction of CRP, TNF-α, and IL-6 in middle-aged and older adults. Further randomized controlled trials (RCTs) need to be conducted to determine the effect of aerobic exercise on additional inflammatory markers in the population of middle-aged and older adults.

Keywords: CRP; IL-4; IL-6; TNF-α; aerobic exercise; inflammatory markers.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review