CD4+ T cell activation and associated susceptibility to HIV-1 infection in vitro increased following acute resistance exercise in human subjects

Alexander K. Holbrook, Hunter D. Peterson, Samantha A. Bianchi, Brad W. Macdonald, Eric C. Bredahl, Michael Belshan, Jacob A. Siedlik

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Early studies in exercise immunology suggested acute bouts of exercise had an immunosuppressive effect in human subjects. However, recent data, show acute bouts of combined aerobic and resistance training increase both lymphocyte activation and proliferation. We quantified resistance exercise-induced changes in the activation state of CD4+ T lymphocytes via surface protein expression and using a medically relevant model of infection (HIV-1). Using a randomized cross-over design, 10 untrained subjects completed a control and exercise session. The control session consisted of 30-min seated rest while the exercise session entailed 3 sets × 10 repetitions of back squat, leg press, and leg extensions at 70% 1-RM with 2-min rest between each set. Venous blood samples were obtained pre/post each session. CD4+ T lymphocytes were isolated from whole blood by negative selection. Expression of activation markers (CD69 & CD25) in both nonstimulated and stimulated (costimulation through CD3+CD28) cells were assessed by flow cytometry. Resistance exercised-induced effects on intracellular activation was further evaluated via in vitro infection with HIV-1. Nonstimulated CD4+ T lymphocytes obtained postexercise exhibited elevated CD25 expression following 24 h in culture. Enhanced HIV-1 replication was observed in cells obtained postexercise. Our results demonstrate that an acute bout of resistance exercise increases the activation state of CD4+ T lymphocytes and results in a greater susceptibility to HIV-1 infection in vitro. These findings offer further evidence that exercise induces activation of T lymphocytes and provides a foundation for the use of medically relevant pathogens as indirect measures of intracellular activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere14234
JournalPhysiological Reports
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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