T cell activation and proliferation following acute exercise in human subjects is altered by storage conditions and mitogen selection

Jacob A. Siedlik, Jake A. Deckert, Stephen H. Benedict, Anuja Bhatta, Amanda J. Dunbar, John P. Vardiman, Philip M. Gallagher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Recent work investigating exercise induced changes in immunocompetence suggests that some of the ambiguity in the literature is resultant from different cell isolation protocols and mitogen selection. To understand this effect, we compared post-exercise measures of T cell activation and proliferation using two different stimulation methods (costimulation through CD28 or stimulation with phytohaemagglutinin [PHA]). Further, we investigated whether exercise induced changes are maintained when T cell isolation from whole blood is delayed overnight in either a room temperature or chilled (4 °C) environment. As expected, an increased proliferation response was observed post-exercise in T cells isolated from whole blood of previously trained individuals immediately after blood collection. Also, cells stimulated with PHA after resting overnight in whole blood were not adversely impacted by the storage conditions. In contrast, allowing cells to rest overnight in whole blood prior to stimulation through CD28, lessened the proliferation observed by cells following exercise rendering both the room temperature and chilled samples closer to the results seen in the control condition. Changes in early markers of activation (CD25), followed a similar pattern, with activation in PHA stimulated cells remaining fairly robust after overnight storage; whereas cell activation following stimulation through CD3 + CD28 was disproportionately decreased by the influence of overnight storage. These findings indicate that decisions regarding cell stimulation methods need to be paired with the timeline for T cell isolation from whole blood. These considerations will be especially important for field based studies of immunocompetence where there is a delay in getting whole blood samples to a lab for processing as well as clinical applications where a failure to isolate T cells in a timely manner may result in loss of the response of interest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-14
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunological Methods
StatePublished - Jul 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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