Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of a 12-month physical activity (PA) intervention on inflammatory biomarkers in elderly men and women.
Methods: Four hundred and twenty-four elderly (age = 70-89 yr), nondisabled, community-dwelling men and women at risk for physical disability were enrolled in a multicenter, single-blind, randomized controlled trial. Participants were randomized to participate in either a 12-month moderate-intensity PA intervention or a successful aging health education intervention. Biomarkers of inflammation (interleukin (IL)-6sR, IL-1sRII, soluble tumor necrosis factor receptors 1 and 2 (sTNFRI, sTNFRII), IL-8, IL-15, adiponectin, IL-1ra, IL-2sRα, and TNFα) were measured at baseline, at 6 months, and at 12 months.
Results: A baseline blood sample was successfully collected from 368 participants. After adjustment for gender, clinic site, diabetes status, and baseline outcome measure, IL-8 was the only inflammatory biomarker affected by the PA intervention (P = 0.03). The adjusted mean IL-8 at month 12 was 9.9% (0.87 pg·mL−1) lower in the PA compared with the successful aging group. Secondary interaction analyses between baseline biomarker status and treatment showed one significant interaction (P = 0.02) such that the PA intervention reduced IL-15 concentrations in participants with a baseline IL-15 above the median value of 1.67 pg·mL−1. However, these associations were no longer significant after consideration for multiple comparisons.
Conclusions: Overall, this study does not provide definitive evidence for an effect of regular exercise for altering systemic concentrations of the measured inflammatory biomarkers in older adults.