Cytokine responses to acute and chronic exercise in multiple sclerosis

Vanessa Castellano, Darpan I. Patel, Lesley J. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Regular exercise reduces functional loss associated with multiple sclerosis (MS). However, the impact of exercise on inflammatory mediators associated with disease activity remains relatively unexplored. The purpose of this study was to determine whether ambulatory MS subjects would respond similarly to aerobic cycle training compared with matched controls on circulating immune variables, interleukin (IL)-6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interferon (IFN)-γ . Eleven MS and 11 non-MS control subjects (8 women and 3 men in both groups) matched in age, height, body mass, body fat, and peak O2 uptake completed the study. Subjects completed 30 min of cycle ergometry at 60% of peak O2 uptake, 3 day/wk for 8 wk. Plasma cytokine concentrations were determined before and after exercise at weeks 0, 4, and 8. MS and control subjects showed a similar cytokine responses to exercise. IL-6 at rest tended to decrease (P = 0.08) with training in both groups. Resting plasma TNF-α tended to be higher in MS compared with controls throughout the study (P = 0.08). MS subjects showed elevated resting TNF-α in MS at the end of the 8-wk program (P = 0.04), whereas resting TNF-α remained unchanged in controls (P > 0.05). Resting plasma IFN-γ at rest was elevated in MS subjects (P = 0.008) and unchanged in controls at the end of the intervention (P > 0.05). The response of plasma IL-6, TNF-α, and IFN-γ after a single bout of exercise was similar between MS and control subjects (P > 0.05). Additional research to understand the impact of exercise on immune variables in MS is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1697-1702
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytokines
  • Exercise
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Interleukin-6
  • Tumor necrosis factor-alpha

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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