Systemic vs. local cytokine and leukocyte responses to unilateral wrist flexion exercise

Dan Nemet, Suzi Hong, Paul J. Mills, Michael G. Ziegler, Maryann Hill, Dan M. Cooper*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We hypothesized that brief exercise of a small muscle group would lead to local rather than systemic alterations in cytokines, peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and mediators of angiogenesis. Fifteen men and eight women (age range 22-36 yr old) performed 10 min of unilateral wrist flexion exercise. Blood was sampled from venous catheters in the resting and exercising arm at baseline, at the end of exercise, and at 10, 30, 60, and 120 min after exercise. Lactate was significantly elevated in the exercising arm (+276 ± 35%; P < 0.0005) with no change in the resting arm. In contrast, increases in both arms were observed for interleukin-6 (+139 ± 51%; P < 0.0005), growth hormone (+1,104 ± 284%; P < 0.003), natural killer cells (+81 ± 9%; P < 0.0005), and lymphocytes expressing CD62L, CD11a, and CD54. There were no significant differences in these increases between the resting and exercising arm. Catecholamines increased in both arms [epinephrine peak increase, +226 ± 36% (P < 0.001); norepinephrine peak increase, +90 ± 15% (P < 0.01)]. Fibroblast growth factor-2 initially decreased with exercise in both arms, and this was followed by a rebound increase. Vascular endothelial growth factor demonstrated a small but significant increase in both arms (+124 ± 31%; P < 0.05). Brief, low-intensity exercise leads to a systemic rather than local response of mediators that could be involved in inflammation, repair, or angiogenic adaptation to physical activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-554
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
National Institute on AgingR01AG013332
National Heart, Lung, and Blood InstituteR01HL057265
National Center for Research ResourcesM01RR000827


    • Inflammation
    • Single arm
    • White blood cells


    Dive into the research topics of 'Systemic vs. local cytokine and leukocyte responses to unilateral wrist flexion exercise'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this