European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 114, Issue 12, pp 2607–2616 | Cite as

Acute leukocyte, cytokine and adipocytokine responses to maximal and hypertrophic resistance exercise bouts

  • Johanna Ihalainen
  • Simon Walker
  • Gøran Paulsen
  • Keijo Häkkinen
  • William J. Kraemer
  • Mari Hämäläinen
  • Katriina Vuolteenaho
  • Eeva Moilanen
  • Antti A Mero
Original Article


The purpose of this study was to examine the acute immune response (circulating levels of leukocytes, cytokines and adipocytokines) to maximal resistance (MAX, 15 × 1RM) and hypertrophic resistance (HYP, 5 × 10RM) exercise bouts. Twelve healthy men (age = 28.2 ± 3.5 years, weight = 78.6 ± 10.4 kg, height 178.8 ± 5.0 cm, fat percentage = 16.5 ± 3.5 %) participated in the study. Blood was sampled before, immediately after and 15 and 30 min after exercise. Leukocytes (WBC) significantly increased immediately after HYP (p < 0.01), whereas in MAX, increases in WBC became significant after 30 min (p < 0.05). Lymphocytes increased only after HYP (p < 0.001), while MAX induced lymphopenia during recovery (p < 0.01). Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) decreased (p < 0.05) and interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra) increased after HYP, which were not observed after MAX. Adipsin and resistin decreased after both exercise bouts (p < 0.05), which suggest that heavy resistance exercise is at least transiently beneficial for adipocytokine profile. Immediate mechanical stress seemed similar as no differences in myoglobin response were observed. The higher magnitude of metabolic demand reflected in higher lactate response in HYP could be the reason for the significantly high responses in WBC, IL-1ra and decrease in MCP-1.


Resistance exercise White blood cells Cytokines Adipocytokines 

A list of abbreviations


Hypertrophic resistance exercise bout


Interleukin-1 receptor antagonist




Maximal resistance exercise bout


Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1


White blood cell count



This project was partly funded by Juho Vainion Foundation, Ellen and Artturi Nyyssönen Foundation and the Department of Biology of Physical Activity, University of Jyväskylä, and the competitive research funding of Pirkanmaa Hospital District. The authors would like to thank the subjects and research assistants.

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest. The authors alone are responsible for the content and writing of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johanna Ihalainen
    • 1
  • Simon Walker
    • 1
  • Gøran Paulsen
    • 2
  • Keijo Häkkinen
    • 1
  • William J. Kraemer
    • 3
  • Mari Hämäläinen
    • 4
  • Katriina Vuolteenaho
    • 4
  • Eeva Moilanen
    • 4
  • Antti A Mero
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology of Physical ActivityUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland
  2. 2.Norwegian School of Sport SciencesOsloNorway
  3. 3.Human Performance Laboratory, Department of KinesiologyUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  4. 4.The Immunopharmacology Research GroupUniversity of Tampere School of Medicine and Tampere University HospitalTampereFinland

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