Impact of physical activity on immune function and inflammation in the elderly

Bartlett, David B. (2014). Impact of physical activity on immune function and inflammation in the elderly. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Physiological ageing is accompanied with an increase in systemic inflammatory mediators (inflammageing), a functional decline of the immune system (immunesenescence), altered endocrine function (adrenopause) and reduced physical activity which predisposes the elderly to increased risk of disease. Little is known about the interplay between physical activity, inflammageing, adrenopause and immunesenescence and what impact interventions may have in the elderly. This thesis identified the consequences of inflammageing and its association with immunesenescence and the impact physical activity plays on limiting the severity of inflammageing.

Cytomegalovirus drives immunesenescence but was not associated with inflammageing. Instead inflammageing was associated with reduced physical activity and increased body fat. Furthermore, inflammageing and adrenopause was associated with increased frailty and mortality risk over a ten-year period.

Accelerometer defined physical activity levels in healthy elders revealed a reduced inflammatory profile and improved neutrophil migration towards interleukin-8. Acute exercise revealed an enhanced inflammatory profile indicative of positive tissue adaptation. Furthermore there was a reduced ratio of cortisol to dehydroepiandrosterone-sulphate which was accompanied by enhanced neutrophil and monocyte bactericidal function. Subsequently ten-weeks of high-intensity interval training, which was more than half the time commitment of regular aerobic training, revealed similar reduced inflammation and improved neutrophil and monocyte bactericidal capacity.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Medical & Dental Sciences
School or Department: School of Immunity and Infection
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: Q Science > QR Microbiology > QR180 Immunology
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)


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