European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 109, Issue 2, pp 343–353 | Cite as

Effects of resistance exercise and protein ingestion on blood leukocytes and platelets in young and older men

  • Juha J. Hulmi
  • T. Myllymäki
  • M. Tenhumäki
  • N. Mutanen
  • R. Puurtinen
  • G. Paulsen
  • A. A. Mero
Original Article


This study investigated, in a multi-experiment design, the acute effects of milk protein ingestion, aging [50 young (~26 years) vs. 45 older (~61 years) men] and training state for the blood leukocyte and platelet responses acutely after a single bout of resistance exercise (RE). Moreover, basal effects of 21 weeks of resistance training (RT) were examined. The single bout of RE rapidly increased all blood leukocytes and platelets (P < 0.05). Protein ingestion before or before and after the RE bout did not have an effect on this response. However, younger men had a larger immediate exercise-induced response in leukocytes and platelets than older men. Basal fasting levels of leukocytes and platelets remained unchanged after 21 weeks of RT and this RT period did not change the acute RE-induced leukocyte and platelet response. The long-term RT was, however, able to slightly increase blood hematocrit. Blood platelet counts were consistently higher in the younger men when compared to the older men. Blood lymphopenia occurred only after a larger volume of exercise. In conclusion, the acute increase in blood leukocytes and platelets may be smaller in the older as when compared to the younger men. However, the number of immune cells and thus probably their function may not be affected by milk protein ingestion or months of resistance training.


Blood leukocytes Blood platelets Resistance exercise Protein nutrition Immune system Aging Hematocrit 



The authors thank Tuovi Nykänen and Aila Ollikainen for their help in data collection and analysis. We also thank the subjects and research assistants. The Finnish Ministry of Education and the Finnish Cultural Foundation supported this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juha J. Hulmi
    • 1
  • T. Myllymäki
    • 1
  • M. Tenhumäki
    • 1
  • N. Mutanen
    • 1
  • R. Puurtinen
    • 1
  • G. Paulsen
    • 2
  • A. A. Mero
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology of Physical Activity, Neuromuscular Research CenterUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland
  2. 2.Norwegian School of Sport SciencesOsloNorway

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