Acute and chronic effects of interval training on the immune system: A systematic review with meta-analysis

Daniel Souza, Arthur F. Vale, Anderson Silva, Murilo A.S. Araújo, Célio A. de Paula Júnior, Claudio A.B. de Lira, Rodrigo Ramirez-Campillo, Wagner Martins, Paulo Gentil

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: To summarize the evidence regarding the acute and chronic effects of interval training (IT) in the immune system through a systematic review with meta-analysis. Design: Systematic review with meta-analysis. Data source: English, Portuguese and Spanish languages search of the electronic databases Pubmed/Medline, Scopus, and SciELO. Eligibility criteria: Studies such as clinical trials, randomized cross-over trials and randomized clinical trials, investigating the acute and chronic effects of IT on the immune outcomes in humans. Results: Of the 175 studies retrieved, 35 were included in the qualitative analysis and 18 in a meta-analysis. Within-group analysis detected significant acute decrease after IT on immunoglobulin A (IgA) secretory rate (n = 115; MD = −15.46 µg·min−1; 95%CI, −28.3 to 2.66; p = 0.02), total leucocyte count increase (n = 137; MD = 2.58 × 103 µL−1; 95%CI, 1.79 to 3.38; p < 0.001), increase in lymphocyte count immediately after exercise (n = 125; MD = 1.3 × 103 µL−1; 95%CI, 0.86 to 1.75; p < 0.001), and decrease during recovery (30 to 180 min post-exercise) (n = 125; MD = −0.36 × 103 µL−1;−0.57 to −0.15; p < 0.001). No effect was detected on absolute IgA (n = 127; MD = 47.5 µg·mL−1; 95%CI, −10.6 to 105.6; p = 0.11). Overall, IT might acutely reduce leucocyte function. Regarding chronic effects IT improved immune function without change leucocyte count. Conclusion: IT might provide a transient disturbance on the immune system, followed by reduced immune function. However, regular IT performance induces favorable adaptations on immune function.

Original languageEnglish
Article number868
JournalBiology
Volume10
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Aerobic capacity
  • High-intensity interval exercise
  • immunity
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Immunologic monitoring
  • Infectious disease
  • Leukocytes
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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