Preliminary evidence of reductive stress in human cytotoxic T-cells following exercise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Adrian Holliday
  • Rhys G. Morgan
  • Kate J. Heesom
  • Derek M. Peters
  • Allain Bueno
  • Steven Coles

External organisations

  • University of Worcester
  • Leeds Beckett University
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Agder


This study investigated immunophenotypic differences in intracellular thiol redox state of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) isolated from trained (TR, n=9, mean ± SD: age 28 ± 5 years; BMI 23.2 ± 2.6 kg·m2; O2max 56.9 ± 6.1 ml·kg-1·min-1) and recreationally active (RA, n=11, mean ± SD: age 27 ± 6 years; BMI 24.2 ± 3.7 kg·m2; O2max 45.1 ± 6.4 ml·kg-1·min-1) participants before and after a maximal aerobic exercise tolerance test. Blood samples were taken before (PRE), during (sample acquired at 70% HRmax), immediately (POST+0) and 15 minutes post-exercise (POST+15). PBMCs were isolated and reduced thiol analysis (fluorescein-5 maleimide (F5M)) by immunophenotype (CD3+, CD4+ and CD8+) was performed using flow cytometry. A significant increase in cellular F5M fluorescence was observed in CD3+ T-cells at POST+0, with changes driven to a greater extent by CD8+ T-cells (fold change in both groups CD4: +2.3, CD8: +2.8; p<0.05). Further analysis revealed a population of highly reduced CD8+ T-cells (CD8+T-reduced+) that significantly increased from PRE to POST+0 in RA participants only (RA: +272 cell/µL, p<0.05). To further understand these results, CD8+T-reduced+ and CD8+T-reduced- cells were analysed for immunophenotype in response to the same exercise protocol (n=6, mean ± SD: age 24 ± 5 years; BMI 25.7 ± 4.1 kg·m-2; O2max 41.33 ± 7.63 ml·kg-1·min-1). CD8+T-reduced+ had significantly less lymphoid homing potential (CCR7) POST+0 compared to PRE. This study is the first to demonstrate that lymphocyte populations become more reductive in response to acute exercise


Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Early online date12 Apr 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Apr 2018


  • redox, immunity, lymphocyte, physical activity, reactive oxygen species