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Aerobic training increases the stimulated percentage of CD4+CD25+ in older men but not older women

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The purpose of the present study was to determine whether 12 months of moderate intensity cycling would increase the expression of IL-2 (CD25+) receptors in T helper (CD4+) lymphocytes in men and women aged 65–75 years. Fourteen men and 10 women completed 52 weeks of moderate intensity cycling (60% VO2peak). Subjects trained (TR) three times per week for 45 min per session. Eight age-matched untrained (UT) male and eight UT female subjects acted as controls. Resting blood samples were taken from TR and UT subjects every 4 weeks. Leukocyte concentration was measured using a full blood count. PHA-stimulated CD4+ lymphocytes were analysed for changes in the expression of CD25+, by flow cytometry. Training significantly increased VO2peak (l min−1, ml kg−1 min−1) in male (+14.3, +16%) and female (+16.7, +27.8%) groups. The TR male group showed a significantly lower percentage of CD4+CD25+ than the male UT in January but the TR male percentage was significantly higher than the UT male group during February, March, April, May, June, September B and December. The female TR group showed a significantly higher percentage CD4+CD25+ than the female UT only during July. There were also significant sequential monthly changes in the percentage of CD4+CD25+ for male and female UT and TR groups. Significant increases in the percentage of CD4+CD25+ in the male TR group suggest training-enhanced lymphocyte mitogenic responsiveness. Moderate intensity long-term training may increase the recruitment of active memory CD4+CD25+ in men rather than women.

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The authors would like to acknowledge the contributions made to the study by Dr Norman Morris and Dr Bon Gray of Griffith University, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia.

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Correspondence to Suzanne Broadbent.

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Broadbent, S., Gass, G. Aerobic training increases the stimulated percentage of CD4+CD25+ in older men but not older women. Eur J Appl Physiol 103, 79–87 (2008).

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