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Acute effects of post-absorptive and postprandial moderate exercise on markers of inflammation in hyperglycemic individuals



Systemic inflammation is involved in the development of several diseases, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. It is known that vigorous exercise affects systemic inflammation, but less is known about exercise at lower intensities. Hyperglycemia can also entail pro-inflammatory responses; however, postprandial hyperglycemia is blunted if the meal is followed by exercise. Hypotheses were: (1) moderate physical exercise acutely affects levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and serum soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (sVCAM-1) in hyperglycemic individuals and (2) the effect depends on whether the activity is performed in a post-absorptive or postprandial state.


Twelve participants diagnosed with hyperglycemia, but not using anti-diabetic medication, underwent three test days in a randomized cross-over study; 1 control day without exercise, 1 day with 60 min of treadmill walking ending 30 min before breakfast, and 1 day with an identical bout of activity 30 min after the start of breakfast. Food intake was strictly standardized and venous blood for CRP, and sVCAM-1 analysis was sampled at standardized timepoints during the first 3.5 h after breakfast and once 24 h later.


Merged data from the two exercise days showed that sVCAM-1 increased from baseline (4 ± 16 ng/mL) compared to the control condition (−28 ± 47 ng/mL, ES = 0.7, p = 0.024). There was no statistically significant difference in changes in sVCAM-1 levels between the two exercise test days. Exercise did not affect CRP values.


Moderate exercise increases sVCAM-1 in hyperglycemic individuals, whereas it does not affect CRP.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3



Test day with exercise after breakfast


Control day


C-reactive protein


Effect size


Test day with exercise before breakfast


Glycosylated hemoglobin


High density lipoprotein


Low density lipoprotein


Rate of perceived exertion


Soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule 1


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We acknowledge Tine SA and Fjordland AS for supplying us with food for dietary standardization. Thanks to Kathrine Kroken and Olav Andreas Tuterud Nordølum for their contribution to the data sampling.

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Correspondence to Håvard Nygaard.

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All procedures performed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Communicated by Fabio Fischetti.

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Nygaard, H., Falch, G.S., Whist, J.E. et al. Acute effects of post-absorptive and postprandial moderate exercise on markers of inflammation in hyperglycemic individuals. Eur J Appl Physiol 117, 787–794 (2017).

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  • Physical activity
  • Blood
  • CRP
  • sVCAM-1
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Life style