This study aimed to investigate the effects of a short-term (36 h) fasting period combined with an acute bout of exercise on markers of immune function and inflammation in healthy human subjects. Fourteen moderately trained male subjects (aged 19-39 yr) participated in a 36-h fasting trial (FA-T), followed by an acute bout of moderate exercise (60% V̇o2max). After 1 wk, the same subjects, as their own control, participated in a nonfasting trial (NFA-T) in which they performed an exercise trial of the same duration and intensity. Blood samples were taken before, immediately after, and 1 h after each exercise bout and analyzed for several immunological and metabolic markers. At baseline, fasting subjects showed lower levels of T cell apoptosis, lymphocyte-proliferative responses, IL-6, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), insulin, and leptin (P < 0.05) as well as higher levels of neutrophil oxidative burst and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) than those in the NFA-T (P < 0.05). After the exercise protocol, fasted subjects revealed higher T cell apoptosis, neutrophil oxidative burst, TBARS, TNFα, and MCP-1 levels as well as lower levels of lymphocyte-proliferative response, IL-6, insulin, and leptin than those in the NFA-T (P < 0.05). Short-term fasting aggravates perturbations in markers of immune function, and inflammation was induced by an acute moderate-intensity exercise protocol.
Keywords: apoptosis; exercise; fasting; immune function; lymphocyte.