Effect of moderate exercise training on T-helper cell subpopulations in elderly people

Kazuhiro Shimizu, Fuminori Kimura, Takayuki Akimoto, Takao Akama, Kai Tanabe, Takahiko Nishijima, Shinya Kuno, Ichiro Kono*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


CD28 molecule expression on the surface of T cells plays a critical role in upregulation of various cytokines synthesis and T-helper (Th) cell proliferation and differentiation. However, aging induces a decrease in CD28 expression and unbalance of Th1/Th2, leading to impairment of Th-cell mediated immune function. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of moderate exercise training on CD28 expression and the balance of Th1/Th2 cells in elderly people. Forty-eight elderly subjects were assigned to an exercise training group (EXC: 13 males, 15 females; aged 61-76) or a non-exercise control group (CON: 7 males, 13 females; aged 62-79). Subjects in EXC participated in exercise sessions 5- days a week for 6 months. Meanwhile, subjects in CON maintained their normal physical activity levels during the study period. Blood samples were collected before and after the training period. Samples were measured for the number of leukocytes and lymphocytes, as well as for CD3 +, CD4 +, CD28 +CD4 +, IFN- γ +CD4 +, IL-4 +CD4 + cells. The number of leukocytes, lymphocytes, and CD3 +cells did not change after 6 months in both EXC and CON. The number of CD4 +and CD28 +CD4 + cells significantly increased after the training in EXC (P < 0.05), while CON did not show significant changes. In the EXC group, IFN- γ +CD4 + cell numbers were significantly higher following the training (P < 0.05), but the number of IL-4 +CD4 + cells was not changed. In the CON group, there were no significant alterations in IFN-γ +CD4 + and IL-4 +CD4 + cell numbers. In conclusion, moderate exercise training in the elderly is associated with improvement of expression of CD28 on Th cells and Th1/Th2 balances. Therefore, exercise training could up-regulate Th cell-mediated immune functions and be helpful for a decrease in the risk of infections and autoimmune diseases in elderly people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-37
Number of pages14
JournalExercise immunology review
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Dec 1


  • Aging
  • CD28
  • Exercise
  • Th1
  • Th2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of moderate exercise training on T-helper cell subpopulations in elderly people'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this