Effect of Moderate Exercise on Proliferative Responses of Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells

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We studied the effects of 30 minutes of exercise on T lymphocyte counts and proliferative responses of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) in 25 runners. Exercise resulted in a T lymphocytosis in the immediate post-exercise period in all subjects (p < 0.001), and reduced CD4+/CD8+ ratios in 22/25 subjects (p = 0.001). The change was due primarily to a 2.2-fold increase in CD8+ cells (p < 0.001). Exercise also reduced PBMC mitogenic responses to phytohemagglutinin (PHA) in 13/14 subjects (p = 0.049), and to pokeweed mitogen (PWM) in 11/14 subjects (p = 0.022), but not to concanavalin A. Postrun sera from 5 of 6 subjects inhibited PHA but not PWM responses of resting autologous PBMC with normal CD4+/CD8+ ratios (p < or = 0.05): indomethacin and monocyte depletion blocked the serum inhibition (p = 0.003, p = 0.0006, respectively). We conclude that post-exercise suppression of mitogenic responses to PHA is due to the release of a serum factor(s) capable of inducing prostaglandin synthesis by circulating monocytes, whereas exercise-induced suppression of PWM responses depends primarily on the reversal of CD4+/CD8+ ratios.

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