Repeated bouts of aerobic exercise enhance regulatory T cell responses in a murine asthma model

Academic Article


  • We have reported previously that moderate intensity aerobic exercise training attenuates airway inflammation in a murine asthma model. Recent studies implicate regulatory T (Treg) cells in decreasing asthma-related airway inflammation; as such, the current study examined the effect of exercise on Treg cell function in a murine asthma model. Mice were sensitized with ovalbumin (OVA) prior to the start of exercise training at a moderate intensity 3×/week for 4 weeks; exercise was performed as treadmill running (13.5 m/min, 0% grade). Mice were OVA challenged repeatedly throughout the exercise protocol. At protocol completion, mice were analyzed for changes in the number and suppressive function of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ cells isolated from lungs, mediastinal lymph nodes, and spleens. Results show that exercise increased significantly the number of Foxp3+ cells within the lungs and mediastinal lymph nodes, but not the spleens, of OVA-treated mice as compared with sedentary controls. Exercise also enhanced the suppression function of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ Treg cells derived from OVA-treated mice as compared with sedentary controls. Specifically, Treg cells from exercised, OVA-treated mice more effectively suppressed CD4+CD25- cell proliferation and Th2 cytokine production in vitro. Enhanced suppression was associated with increased protein levels of TGF-β and lesser amounts of IL-10 and IL-17; however, blocking TGF-β had no effect on suppressive functions. These data demonstrate that exercise-mediated increases in Treg cell function may play a role in the attenuation of airway inflammation. Further, these results indicate that moderate intensity aerobic exercise training may alter the Treg cell function within the asthmatic airway. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Lowder T; Dugger K; Deshane J; Estell K; Schwiebert LM
  • Start Page

  • 153
  • End Page

  • 159
  • Volume

  • 24
  • Issue

  • 1