Cardiovascular exercise intervention improves the primary antibody response to keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) in previously sedentary older adults

R. W. Grant, R. A. Mariani, V. J. Vieira, M. Fleshner, T. P. Smith, K. T. Keylock, T. W. Lowder, E. McAuley, L. Hu, K. Chapman-Novakofski, J. A. Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Based upon a prior cross-sectional study, we hypothesized that an aerobic exercise intervention in sedentary older adults would improve a primary T cell-dependent immune response. Participants were a subset of older subjects from a large, ongoing exercise intervention study who were randomly assigned to either an aerobic exercise (Cardio, n = 30, 68.9 + 0.8 years) or flexibility/balance (Flex, n = 20, 69.9 + 1.2 years) intervention. The intervention consisted of either three aerobic sessions for 30-60 min at 55-70% VO2max or two 60 min flexibility/balance sessions weekly for 10 months. Eight months into the intervention, samples were collected before intramuscular administration of KLH (125 μg), followed by sampling at 2, 3, and 6 weeks post-KLH. Serum anti-KLH IgM, IgG1, and IgG2 was measured by ELISA. Physiological and psychosocial measures were also assessed pre- and post-intervention. While there was no difference in the anti-KLH IgG2 response between groups, Cardio displayed significantly (p < 0.05) higher anti-KLH IgG1 (at weeks 2, 3, and 6 post) and IgM responses when compared to Flex. Despite cardiovascular intervention-induced improvement in physical fitness (∼11% vs. 1% change in VO2peak in Cardio vs. Flex, respectively), we found no relationship between improved fitness and enhanced anti-KLH antibody responses. Optimism, perceived stress, and affect were all associated with enhanced immune response. We have shown for the first time that cardiovascular training in previously sedentary elderly results in significantly higher primary IgG1 and IgM antibody responses, while having no effect on IgG2 production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)923-932
Number of pages10
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Aging
  • Elderly
  • Exercise
  • Immunity
  • Primary antibody response
  • Vaccination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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