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Original Research

Open Access


  • Eun-Ju Choi11
  • Chang-Jin Lee2
  • Hyo-Hyun Park3
  • Wi-Young So4

1Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Education, Daegu Catholic University, Gyeongsan, Korea

2Professor, Division of Sports and Health Science, Konkuk University, Chungju-si, Korea

3Senior Researcher, Korean Oriental Medicine Technique Headquarters, National Development Institute of Korean Medicine, Gyeongsan, Korea

4Associate Professor, Sports and Health Care Major, College of Humanities and Arts, Korea National University of Transportation, Chungju-si, Korea

DOI: 10.22374/1875-6859.14.3.1 Vol.14,Issue 3,June 2018 pp.14-19

Published: 07 June 2018

*Corresponding Author(s): Wi-Young So E-mail:


Background and Objective

High-intensity exercise has been linked to immunity; however, the relationship between low-intensity exercise and the immune system is unclear. In this study, the effects of exercise on cytokine production in T helper 1 (interleukin-2 [IL-2] and interferon-gamma [INF-γ]) and T helper 2 cells (interleukin-4 [IL-4]) in spleens were investigated.

Material and Methods

Sprague–Dawley male rats were divided into a control group (CON, n = 10) and a low-intensity exercise group (EX, n = 10). EX rats were trained on a treadmill (8 m/min, 50 min/day, 5 times over 12 weeks). Spleen tissues were analyzed by hematoxylin-eosin staining and real-time PCR to quantify IL-4, INF-γ, and IL-2 expression.


IL-4 expression was significantly higher in the EX group than in the CON group (p < 0.05). However, IL-2 and INF-γ expression did not differ between groups (p > 0.05).


These results suggest that exercise in rats enhances immune function by regulating cytokine production in T helper type 2 (IL-4) cells, but not in T helper type 1 (IL-2 and IFN-γ) cells of the activated spleen.

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