Higher antibody, but not cell-mediated, responses to vaccination in high physically fit elderly

K. Todd Keylock, Thomas Lowder, Kurt A. Leifheit, Marc Cook, Rachel A. Mariani, Kristine Ross, Kijin Kim, Karen Chapman-Novakofski, Edward McAuley, Jeffrey A. Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The purpose of this study was to examine whether cardiovascular fitness, independent of confounding factors, was associated with immune responsiveness to clinically relevant challenges in older adults (60-76 yr). Thirteen sedentary, low-fit (LF; maximal O2 uptake = 21.1 ± 1.1 ml·kg -1·min-1) and 13 physically active, high-fit (HF; maximal O2 uptake = 46.8 ± 3.4 ml·kg -1·min-1) older adults participated in this study. Dietary intake was assessed, and a battery of psychosocial tests was administered. In vivo antibody and ex vivo proliferative and cytokine responses to influenza (Fluzone) and tetanus toxoid (TT) vaccination and delayed-type hypersensitivity skin tests were performed. HF elderly individuals displayed a higher antibody response to two of the three strains included in the Fluzone vaccine as measured by hemagluttination inhibition, but there was no difference between groups in influenza-specific ex vivo proliferation or IFN-γ or IL-10 production. HF elderly individuals exhibited a lower IgG1 response and a tendency for a higher IgG2 response to the TT vaccine. There were, however, no differences in TT-specific ex vivo proliferation or IFN-γ or IL-10 production. In contrast, HF subjects had higher proliferative responses to phytohemagluttinin. In addition, there were no differences in delayed-type hypersensitivity responses to fungal antigens between groups. These results suggest that, after accounting for confounding factors, HF elderly individuals have higher antibody responses to Fluzone vaccine and a Th2 skewing of the antibody response to TT. There was little evidence that HF mounted better cell-mediated immune responses to the Fluzone or TT vaccine measured in peripheral blood cells or to other recall antigens in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1090-1098
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2007


  • Aging
  • Delayed-type hypersensitivity
  • Exercise
  • Immunity
  • Physical activity
  • Vaccination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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