This nonrandomized controlled trial was designed to investigate the effects of acute exercise on neutrophil count and function in children and adolescents receiving maintenance treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) compared to matched controls.
Participants (n=10; 4 ALL patients and 6 healthy matched controls) were males between the ages of 7 to 18 years. On visit 1, participants completed an incremental exercise test to volitional exhaustion on a treadmill to determine peak aerobic fitness (VO2peak). On visit 2, participants completed a 30-minute exercise session consisting of an intermittent run-walk on a treadmill at 70% to 85% of VO2 peak with blood sampling completed at 5 time points: fasting, preexercise, postexercise, 1-hour postexercise, and 2-hour postexercise.
A significant increase in absolute neutrophil count from preexercise to postexercise was observed in both groups (P=0.011). Neutrophil oxidative capacity was significantly depressed in the ALL group at the basal level (P=0.029), however, it increased in both groups after exercise and stimulation.
This preliminary study suggests that 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise in ALL patients receiving maintenance therapy provides a similar neutrophil response to that of healthy age and sex-matched controls.