The effect of exercise interventions on inflammatory biomarkers in healthy, physically inactive subjects: a systematic review

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Cronin, Owen
Keohane, David M.
Molloy, Michael G.
Shanahan, Fergus
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Oxford University Press
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Background: Increases in physical activity ameliorate low-grade systemic inflammation in disease populations such as type 2 diabetes mellitus and coronary artery disease. The effects of aerobic and resistance training (RT) on inflammatory biomarker profiles in non-disease, physically inactive individuals are unknown. Methods: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials measuring the effect of aerobic and resistance exercise on pro-inflammatory biomarkers in healthy, inactive adult populations was conducted. The available peer-reviewed literature was searched from January 1990 to June 2016 using the electronic databases PubMed and Scopus. A narrative synthesis of review findings was constructed with discussion of the impact of aerobic, resistance and combined training on C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin-8, interleukin-1β and tumour necrosis factor-α. Results: The initial search revealed 1596 potentially relevant studies. Application of the study eligibility criteria led to the full-text review of 54 articles with 11 studies deemed suitable for inclusion. Review of related articles and the reference lists of the 54 full-text articles led to the inclusion of 2 additional studies. The review revealed inconsistent findings relating to the effect of aerobic training and RT on CRP and IL-6. Studies of older-aged adults (>65 years old) demonstrated the greatest and most consistent reduction in inflammatory biomarkers post-training intervention. Conclusions: A paucity of evidence exists relating to the effect of exercise training on inflammatory markers in non-disease, physically inactive adults. The available evidence suggests potential for the greatest benefit to be seen in older populations and with higher intensity aerobic exercise.
Physical activity , Coronary arteriosclerosis , Aerobic exercise , Inflammatory markers , Inflammation , Diabetes mellitus , Type 2 , Exercise , Adult biological markers , Interleukin-8 , Interleukins , C-reactive protein , Interleukin-6 , Exercise , Resistive , Tumor necrosis , Narrative discourse , Strength training
Cronin, O., Keohane, D.M., Molloy, M. G. and Shanahan, F., (2017) ‘The effect of exercise interventions on inflammatory biomarkers in healthy, physically inactive subjects: a systematic review’, QJM, 110(10), pp. 629-637. doi: 10.1093/qjmed/hcx091
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© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Association of Physicians. All rights reserved. This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in QJM following peer review. The version of record is available online at: