Assessment of oxidative stress in lymphocytes with exercise

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Turner JE, Bosch JA, Drayson MT, Aldred S. Assessment of oxidative stress in lymphocytes with exercise. J Appl Physiol 111:206-211, 2011. First published April 14, 2011; doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00051.2011.-This study investigated whether changes in the cellular composition of blood during exercise could partly account for observations of exercise-induced changes in lymphocyte oxidative stress markers. Markers of oxidative stress were assessed before and after 60 min of intense treadmill running. Samples were collected from 16 men (means +/- SD: age 33 +/- 13 yr; body mass index 23.8 +/- 2.5 kg/m(2); maximal oxygen uptake 59.7 +/- 5.2 Peripheral blood lymphocytes were assayed for protein carbonyl concentration, and plasma was assessed for lipid peroxides and antioxidant capacity. In a separate study, intracellular thiol concentration was determined in lymphocyte subsets from eight characteristically similar men by flow cytometry, of which T-cell memory populations were further identified on the basis of CD27, CD28, and CD45RA expression. Total lymphocyte protein carbonyls were transiently increased with exercise and returned to baseline within 15 min (P <0.001). This change was accompanied by an increase in plasma lipid peroxides (P <0.05) and total antioxidant capacity (P <0.001). Correlation analyses showed that lymphocyte protein carbonyl content was not related to changes in the cellular composition of peripheral blood during exercise. Natural killer cells (CD3(-) CD56(+)) and late-differentiated/effector memory cells (CD4(+)/CD8(+)CD27(-)CD28(-)/CD45RA(+)), which mobilized most with exercise, showed high intracellular thiol content (P <0.001). High thiol content suggests a lower oxidative load carried by these lymphocytes. Thus vigorous exercise resulted in a transient increase in lymphocyte oxidative stress. Results suggest this was unrelated to the alterations in the cellular composition of peripheral blood.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-211
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011


  • NK cells, T cells, glutathione, protein carbonylation