Effect of acute aerobic exercise on vaccine efficacy in older adults

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2013 Aug 6. [Epub ahead of print]
Effect of Acute Aerobic Exercise on Vaccine Efficacy in Older Adults.
Ranadive SM, Cook M, Kappus RM, Yan H, Lane AD, Woods JA, Wilund KW, Iwamoto G, Vanar V, Tandon R, Fernhall B.

Source:  1Department of Kinesiology and Community health, College of Applied Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL; 2Department of Anesthesiology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN; 3Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, College of Applied Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL.


The most effective way of avoiding influenza is through influenza vaccination. However, the vaccine is ineffective in about 25% of the older population. Immunosenescence with advancing age results in inadequate protection from disease because of ineffective responses to vaccination. Recently, a number of strategies have been tested to improve the efficacy of a vaccine in older adults. An acute bout of moderate aerobic exercise may increase the efficacy of the vaccine in young individuals, but there is limited efficacy data in older adults who would benefit most.


This study sought to evaluate whether acute moderate intensity endurance exercise immediately prior to influenza vaccination would increase the efficacy of the vaccine.


Fifty-nine healthy volunteers between 55 – 75 years of age were randomly allocated to an exercise or control group. Antibody titers were measured at baseline prior to exercise and 4 weeks following vaccination. CRP and IL-6 were measured at 24 and 48 h post-vaccination.


Delta CRP and IL-6 at 24 and 48 h were significantly higher following vaccination as compared to the sham. There were no differences in the levels of antibody titers against the H3N2 influenza strain between groups. However, women in the exercise group had a significantly higher antibody response against the H1N1 influenza strain as compared to the men, probably due to lower pre vaccine titers. There were no significant differences in seroprotection between groups.


Acute moderate aerobic exercise was not immune-stimulatory in healthy older men, but may serve as a vaccine adjuvant in older women.


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