Exercise suppresses macrophage antigen presentation

M. A. Ceddia, J. A. Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study determined the effects of exercise on the ability of macrophages (Mφ) to present antigen to T cells. Pathogen-free male Balb/c mice (8 ± 2 wk of age) were randomly assigned to either home cage control, moderate exercise (Mod; 18 m/min, 5% grade, 0.5 h/day), exhaustive exercise (Exh, 18-30 m/min, 3 h/day), or treadmill control groups. The mice underwent treatments for 4 days during peritoneal thioglycolate inflammation. Peritoneal Mφ were harvested, purified, and incubated with chicken ovalbumin (C-OVA; 0-10 mg/ml) for 18 h. Mφ were then cocultured with C-OVA-specific T cells for 48 h, and the supernatants were analyzed via ELISA for interleukin- 2 as an indication of Mφ antigen presentation (AP). Exh exhibited suppressed (~25-34%) Mφ AP across a wide range of C-OVA doses when measured immediately, 3, and 24 h postexercise. In contrast, Mod had reduced Mφ AP only at 3 h postexercise. Mφ AP was also lower in the treadmill control (4- 27%) compared with the home cage control group, but was significantly higher than Exh. The reduction in Mφ AP was not due to exercise-induced differences in Mφ number, percentage, or expression of intercellular adhesion molecule- 1, B7-2, or major histocompatability complex II, molecules important in AP. In conclusion, our data lend evidence that may help explain the increased incidence of infection observed after prolonged exhaustive exercise or overtraining.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2253-2258
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1999


  • Immunity
  • Intercellular adhesion molecule-1
  • Interleukin-2
  • Mice
  • Stress
  • T lymphocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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