Effects of Exercise on the Immune System

A special issue of Sports (ISSN 2075-4663).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2021) | Viewed by 17850

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
Interests: exercise oncology; exercise immunology; muscle mass and function

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The immune system has many key roles, including pathogen control, inflammation, and identifying and killing tumor cells. It is well established that acute and chronic exercise both stimulate the immune system, with leukocytosis during and immediately following exercise being affected by duration and intensity. However, high training volumes can be problematic, as sustained, vigorous exercise may reduce immune cell counts and function. Chronic disease also impairs immunity, an issue that is likely to expand as inflammation, obesity, and sedentary behavior remain on the rise.

The anti-inflammatory effects of being physically active potentially augment pro-inflammatory markers that perpetuate chronic disease, a process that is, in part, mediated via exercise-induced alterations in immune cells. While exercise is a well-established stimulus to classic immune cell populations, less conventional immune cells (e.g., natural killer T, and mucosal associated invariant T, and λδ T cells) are mostly absent from the exercise immunology literature yet play crucial roles in chronic disease.

The purpose of this Special Edition is to invite contribution from across exercise immunology, particularly in emerging immune cell types and/or chronic disease, to improve our understanding of exercise on immune function and to translate this new knowledge into practice.

Dr. Erik Hanson
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • exercise immunity
  • immune function
  • inflammation
  • chronic disease
  • immune cells

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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16 pages, 2515 KiB  
Article
Mucosal-Associated Invariant T Cell Response to Acute Exercise and Exercise Training in Older Obese Women
by Lauren C. Bates, Erik D. Hanson, Michael M. Levitt, Bryan Richie, Elise Erickson, David B. Bartlett and Melody D. Phillips
Sports 2021, 9(10), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9100133 - 24 Sep 2021
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Abstract
(1) Background: Obesity is a major global public health concern as it is associated with many of the leading causes of preventable deaths. Exercise reduces obesity-induced inflammation; however, it is unknown how exercise training may impact mucosal associated invariant T (MAIT) cells in [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Obesity is a major global public health concern as it is associated with many of the leading causes of preventable deaths. Exercise reduces obesity-induced inflammation; however, it is unknown how exercise training may impact mucosal associated invariant T (MAIT) cells in overweight/obese (OW) post-menopausal women. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate (i) circulating MAIT-cells at rest in OW vs. Lean women, (ii) the response of MAIT-cells to a single bout of combined aerobic and resistance exercise, and (iii) the effects of 12 weeks of exercise training (EX) or educational program (ED) on the MAIT-cell response in OW. (2) Methods: OW completed an acute exercise session or sitting control, underwent 12 weeks of exercise training or received educational materials, and then repeated the exercise session/sitting control. Lean post-menopausal women provided a baseline comparison. (3) Results: OW had lower circulating MAIT-cells at rest than Lean prior to exercise training; however, after training EX displayed improved MAIT-cell frequency. Additionally, prior to training EX did not exhibit MAIT-cell mobilization/egress, however, both improved after training. (4) Conclusions: Reduced MAIT-cell frequency and ability to mobilize/egress were potentially partially rescued in EX after 12 weeks of exercise training; however, further research is needed to elucidate age or obesity-induced attenuations in MAIT-cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Exercise on the Immune System)
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Review

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11 pages, 608 KiB  
Review
Exercise-Induced Changes in Tumor Growth via Tumor Immunity
by Polyxeni Spiliopoulou, Maria Gavriatopoulou, Efstathios Kastritis, Meletios Athanasios Dimopoulos and Gerasimos Terzis
Sports 2021, 9(4), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9040046 - 30 Mar 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 4723
Abstract
Immunity in the tumor microenvironment plays a central role in tumor development. Cytotoxic immune cells act against tumors, while tumors manage to trigger immunosuppressive mechanisms for defense. One bout of physical exercise acutely regulates the immune system inducing short-term redistribution of immune cells [...] Read more.
Immunity in the tumor microenvironment plays a central role in tumor development. Cytotoxic immune cells act against tumors, while tumors manage to trigger immunosuppressive mechanisms for defense. One bout of physical exercise acutely regulates the immune system inducing short-term redistribution of immune cells among body organs. Repeated acute immune cell mobilization with continuing exercise training results in long-term adaptations. These long-term exercise-induced changes in the immune system arise both in healthy and in diseased populations, including cancer patients. Recent preclinical studies indicate that physical exercise may have a positive impact on intra-tumoral immune cell processes, resulting in tumor suppression. This short narrative review describes the effect of physical exercise on tumor growth as detected via changes in tumor immunity. Research evidence shows that exercise may improve tumor-suppressive functions and may reduce tumor-progressive responses and mechanisms of immune cells, controlling tumor development. Specifically, it seems that exercise in rodents triggers shifts in tumor infiltration of macrophages, neutrophils, natural killer cells, cytotoxic and regulatory T lymphocytes, resulting in tumor suppression. These recent promising data suggest that physical exercise could be combined with anticancer immunotherapies, although exercise parameters like intensity, duration, and frequency need to be evaluated in more detail. More research is needed to investigate the effect of exercise in other immune cell subtypes and their possible connection with tumor growth, whilst information from human tumors is also required. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Exercise on the Immune System)
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7 pages, 642 KiB  
Perspective
Effect of Exercise Intensity on Cell-Mediated Immunity
by Katsuhiko Suzuki and Harumi Hayashida
Sports 2021, 9(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9010008 - 11 Jan 2021
Cited by 34 | Viewed by 9271
Abstract
Moderate-intensity exercise is considered to enhance immune function and to be useful for preventing acute upper respiratory infections and similar conditions. Many people practice low-intensity short-duration exercise with the expectation of a beneficial effect on immunocompetency. However, it is difficult to affirm the [...] Read more.
Moderate-intensity exercise is considered to enhance immune function and to be useful for preventing acute upper respiratory infections and similar conditions. Many people practice low-intensity short-duration exercise with the expectation of a beneficial effect on immunocompetency. However, it is difficult to affirm the existence of definite evidence of such a benefit. In this article, we discuss the effects of low-intensity short-duration exercise on cell-mediated immunity, and contrast them to the effects of high-intensity and long-duration exercise. Whereas high-intensity exercise induces inflammation and reduces cell-mediated immune system function, low-intensity exercise does not appear to have a large effect on either inflammation or cell-mediated immune function. Low-intensity exercises such as walking and yoga, which are helpful to relieve stress, cannot be considered as harmful to the immune system. Although yoga was shown to impose fewer restrictions on breathing and physical strain, the evidence that yoga enhances cell-mediated immunity remains insufficient. Therefore, further studies are needed to examine the exercise mode that may be most effective for improvement of immune functions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Exercise on the Immune System)
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