Modulation of inflammatory status is considered a key component of the overall health effects of exercise. This may be especially relevant in children with obesity (Ob) or type 1 diabetes (T1DM), in which an imbalance between pro- and anti-inflammatory mediators could accelerate onset and progression of cardiovascular complications. To date, exercise-induced alterations in immuno-modulatory mediators in Ob and T1DM children remain largely unknown.
In this study, we monitored the kinetic profiles of 8 pro-and anti-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-a, IL-6, IL-2, IL-8, IL-5, IL-13, IL-10, IL-4) during a standardized exercise challenge (ten 2-min cycling bouts at 80% VO2max, separated by 1-min intervals) in 23 Ob (12 females, 11 males), 23 T1DM (10 females and 13 males) patients and 20 healthy (CL, 10 females and 10 males) children. Blood glucose of T1DM patients was kept in the 4.4-6.1 mM range for at least 90 minute prior to and during exercise. Blood samples were drawn at rest and after every other exercise bout.
In Ob, TNF-a and IL-2 were significantly greater (p<0.0167) as compared to T1DM and CL, both at baseline and throughout exercise. All other variables, while not significant, were quantitatively elevated in Ob vs. CL. In T1DM, IL-4 and IL-8 levels were similar to Ob, IL-2 and TNF-a similar to CL, and IL-6, IL-5, IL-13, IL-4 levels were intermediate between the Ob and CL groups.
During exercise, therefore, both Ob and T1DM children displayed exaggerated pro-inflammatory responses, although with clearly different magnitude and involved mediators. Our data support the necessity to identify specific exercise formats through which each at-risk pediatric population can draw maximal beneficial health effects.