Acute, Exercise-Induced Alterations in Cytokines and Chemokines in the Blood Distinguish Physically Active and Sedentary Aging Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Abstract Aging results in a chronic, proinflammatory state which can promote and exacerbate age-associated diseases. In contrast, physical activity in older adults improves whole body health, protects against disease, and reduces inflammation, but the elderly are less active making it difficult to disentangle the effects of aging from a sedentary lifestyle. To interrogate this interaction, we analyzed peripheral blood collected at rest and postexercise from 68 healthy younger and older donors that were either physically active aerobic exercisers or chronically sedentary. Subjects were profiled for 44 low-abundance cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors in peripheral blood. At rest, we found that regular physical activity had no impact on the age-related elevation in circulating IL-18, eotaxin, GRO, IL-8, IP-10, PDGF-AA, or RANTES. Similarly, there was no impact of physical activity on the age-related reduction in VEGF, EGF, or IL-12 (p70). However, older exercisers had lower resting plasma fractalkine, IL-3, IL-6, and TNF-α compared to sedentary older adults. In contrast to our resting characterization, blood responses following acute exercise produced more striking difference between groups. Physically active younger and older subjects increased over 50% of the analyzed factors in their blood which resulted in both unique and overlapping exercise signatures. However, sedentary individuals, particularly the elderly, had few detectable changes in response to exercise. Overall, we show that long-term physical activity has a limited effect on age-associated changes in basal cytokines and chemokines in the healthy elderly, yet physically active individuals exhibit a broader induction of factors postexercise irrespective of age.

publication date

  • April 30, 2021