Aerobic exercise training and the immune system

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Neil Schneiderman, Committee Chair


Healthy gay males (n = 14) at high risk for AIDS, whose human immunodeficiency virus antibody status was negative, were randomly assigned to control (n = 7) or aerobic exercise training (n = 7) groups. The exercisers received 45 min of aerobic training, at an intensity of 70-80% predicted maximum heart rate, 3 times per week. After 10 weeks, a significant 8.5% increase in fitness level was obtained for the exercisers as measured by VO2max. The control group showed no significant changes in fitness level across a similar 10 week period. Aerobic exercise training produced a significant increase in the number of T4-helper cells, 2H4+T4+ subset of T4 cells, and B1 cells. In contrast, subjects in the control group did not show significant changes in T4 cells, 2H4+T4+, or B1 cells. These data collectively provide evidence that an aerobic exercise training program may enhance both cellular and humoral immunity.


Health Sciences, Immunology

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