Int J Sports Med 2010; 31(7): 441-450
DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1251994

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Effects of Resistance Training on Cytokines

B. F. de Salles1 , R. Simão2 , S. J. Fleck3 , I. Dias1 , L. G. Kraemer-Aguiar1 , E. Bouskela1
  • 1Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Physiological Sciences Department, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 2Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, School of Physical Education and Sports, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 3Colorado College, Sport Science Department, Colorado Springs, United States
Further Information

Publication History

accepted after revision February 25, 2010

Publication Date:
29 April 2010 (online)


It is speculated that exercise training decreases resting levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and C-reactive protein (CRP); reduces body mass and leptin (LP); and increases adiponectin (AD) and insulin sensitivity. This systematic review analyzed the effectiveness of resistance training (RT) longitudinal clinical studies on AD, LP, CRP and TNF-α. Seventeen studies were included and the majority of randomized controlled trials support that RT produces increases in AD, and decreases in both LP and CRP. Greater responses in AD and LP were evident in overweight and obese individuals; while RT appeared to be effective in reducing CRP in obese individuals, and older adults. Additionally, women may be more responsive to RT effects on AD, LP and CRP. Training duration and intensity may affect the response of AD and CRP with greater responses shown with 16 weeks or more of training and/or with intensities greater than 80% of one repetition maximum. No response to RT of TNF-α levels was apparent. Although based on a limited number of studies, some of which are uncontrolled non-randomized in design, our review suggests some positive effects of RT programs on cytokine levels, but specifics of the responses in different populations need further elucidation.


  • 1 Ahmadizad S, Haghighi AH, Hamedinia MR. Effects of resistance versus endurance training on serum adiponectin and insulin resistance index.  Eur J Endocrinol. 2007;  157 625-631
  • 2 American College of Sports Medicine. . American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand. Appropriate physical activity intervention strategies for weight loss and prevention of weight regain for adults.  Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009;  41 459-471
  • 3 American College of Sports Medicine. . Position Stand: Progression models in resistance training for healthy adults.  Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009;  41 687-708
  • 4 Ara I, Perez-Gomes J, Vicente-Rodriguez G, Chavarren J, Dorado C, Calbet JAL. Serum free testosterone, leptin and soluble leptin receptor changes in a 6-week strength-training programme.  Br J Nutr. 2006;  96 1053-1059
  • 5 Bahia L, Aguiar LG, Villela N, Bottino D, Godoy-Matos AF, Geloneze B, Tambascia M, Bouskela E. Adiponectin is associated with improvement of endothelial function after rosiglitazone treatment in non-diabetic individuals with metabolic syndrome.  Atherosclerosis. 2007;  195 138-146
  • 6 Bautmans I, Njemini R, Vasseur S, Chabert H, Moens L, Demanet C, Mets T. Biochemical changes in response to intensive resistance exercise training in the elderly.  Gerontology. 2005;  51 253-265
  • 7 Brooks N, Layne JE, Gordon PL, Roubenoff R, Nelson ME. Strength training improves muscle quality and insulin sensitivity in Hispanic older adults with type 2 diabetes.  Int J Med Sci. 2007;  4 19-27
  • 8 Bruunsgaard H, Bjerregaard E, Schroll M, Pedersen BK. Muscle strength after resistance training is inversely correlated with baseline level of soluble tumor necrosis factor receptors on the oldest old.  J Am Geriatr Soc. 2004;  52 237-241
  • 9 Dyck DJ. Adipokines as regulators of muscle metabolism and insulin sensitivity.  Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2009;  34 396-402
  • 10 Fatouros I, Destouni A, Margonis K, Jamurtas AZ, Vrettou C, Kouretas D, Mastorakos G, Mitrakou A, Taxildaris K, Kanavakis E, Papassotiriou J. Cell-free plasma DNA as a novel marker of aseptic inflammation severity related to exercise overtraining.  Clin Chem. 2006;  52 1821-1824
  • 11 Fatouros I, Toumis S, Leontsini D, Jamurtas AZ, Sxina M, Thomakos P, Manousaki M, Douroudos I, Taxildaris K, Mitrakou A. Leptin and adiponectin responses in overweight inactive elderly following resistance training and detraining are intensity related.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005;  90 5970-5977
  • 12 Fehrenbach E, Schneider ME. Trauma-induced systemic inflammatory response versus exercise-induced immunomodulatory effects.  Sports Med. 2006;  36 373-384
  • 13 Giannessi D, Maltinti M, Del Ry S. Adiponectin circulating levels: a new emerging biomarker of cardiovascular risk.  Pharmacol Res. 2007;  56 459-467
  • 14 Greiwe JS, Cheng B, Rubin DC, Yarasheski KE, Semenkovich CF. Resistance exercise decreases skeletal muscle tumor necrosis factor alpha in frail elderly humans.  FASEB J. 2001;  15 475-482
  • 15 Guadalupe-Grau A, Perez-Gomez J, Olmedillas H, Chavarren J, Dorado C, Santana A, Serrano-Sanchez JA, Calbet JA. Strength training combined with plyometric jumps in adults: Gender differences in fat-bone axis adaptations.  J Appl Physiol. 2009;  106 1100-1111
  • 16 Hawley JA, Lessard SJ. Exercise training-induced improvements in insulin action.  Acta Physiol (Oxf). 2008;  192 127-135
  • 17 Heffernan KS, Jae SY, Vieira VJ, Iwamoto GA, Wilund KR, Woods JA, Fernhall B. C-reactive protein and cardiac vagal activity following resistance exercise training in young African-American and white men.  Am J Physiol. 2009;  296 R1098-R1105
  • 18 Hotta K, Funahashi Y, Arita Y, Takahashi M, Matsuda M, Okamoto Y, Iwahashi H, Kuriyama H, Ouchi N, Maeda K, Nishida M, Kihara S, Sakai N, Nakajima T, Hasegawa K, Muraguchi M, Ohmoto Y, Nakamura T, Yamashita S, Hanafusa T, Matsuzawa Y. Plasma concentrations of a novel, adipose-specific protein, adiponectin in type 2 diabetic patients.  Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2000;  20 1595-1599
  • 19 Kanaley J, Fenicchia LM, Miller CS, Ploutz-Synder LL, Weinstock RS, Carhart R, Azevedo Jr JL. Resting leptin responses to acute and chronic resistance training in type 2 diabetic men and women.  Int J Obes. 2001;  25 1474-1480
  • 20 Kasapis C, Thompson PD. The effects of physical activity on serum C-reactive protein and inflammatory markers: a systematic review.  J Am Coll Cardiol. 2005;  45 1563-1569
  • 21 Klimcakova E, Polak J, Moro C, Hejnova J, Majercik M, Viguerie N, Berlan M, Langin D, Stich V. Dynamic strength training improves insulin sensitivity without altering plasma levels and gene expression of adipokines in subcutaneous adipose tissue in obese men.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2006;  91 5107-5112
  • 22 Kraemer RR, Castracane VD. Exercise and humoral mediators of peripheral energy balance: ghrelin and adiponectin.  Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2007;  232 184-194
  • 23 Kraemer RR, Chu H, Castracane VD. Leptin and exercise.  Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2002;  227 701-708
  • 24 Leung FP, Yung LM, Laher I, Yao X, Chen ZY, Huang Y. Exercise, vascular wall and cardiovascular diseases: an update (Part 1).  Sports Med. 2008;  38 1009-1024
  • 25 Levinger I, Goodman C, Peake J, Garnham A, Hare DL, Jerums G, Selig S. Inflammation, hepatic enzymes and resistance training in individuals with metabolic risk factors.  Diabet Med. 2009;  26 220-227
  • 26 Lindegaard B, Hansen T, Hvid T, van Hall G, Plomgaard P, Ditlevsen S, Gerstoft J, Pedersen BK. The effect of strength and endurance training on insulin sensitivity and fat distribution in human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients with lipodystrophy.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008;  93 3860-3869
  • 27 Moldoveanu AI, Shephard RJ, Shek PN. The cytokine response to physical activity and training.  Sports Med. 2001;  31 115-144
  • 28 Okamoto Y, Arita Y, Nishida M, Muraguchi M, Ouchi N, Takahashi M, Igura T, Inui Y, Kihara S, Nakamura T, Yamashita S, Miyagawa J, Funahashi T, Matsuzawa Y. An adipocyte-derived plasma protein, adiponectin, adheres to injured vascular walls.  Hormone Metab Res. 2000;  32 47-50
  • 29 Olson T, Dengel DR, Leon AS, Schmitz KH. Changes in inflammatory biomarkers following one-year of moderate resistance training in overweight women.  Int J Obes. 2007;  31 996-1003
  • 30 Ouchi N, Kihara S, Arita Y, Maeda K, Kuriyama H, Okamoto Y, Hotta K, Nishida M, Takahashi M, Nakamura T, Yamashita S, Funahashi T, Matsuzawa Y. Novel modulator for endothelial adhesion molecules: adipocyte-derived plasma protein adiponectin.  Circulation. 1999;  100 2473-2476
  • 31 Praet S, Jonkers RMA, Schep G, Stehouwer CDA, Kuipers H, Keizer HA, Van Loon LJ. Long-standing, insulin-treated type 2 diabetes patients with complications respond well to short-term resistance and interval exercise training.  Eur J Endocrinol. 2008;  158 163-172
  • 32 Prestes J, Shiguemoto G, Botero JP, Frollini A, Dias R, Leite R, Pereira G, Magosso R, Baldissera V, Cavaglieri C, Perez S. Effects of resistance training on resistin, leptin, cytokines, and muscle force in elderly post-menopausal women.  J Sports Sci. 2009;  27 1607-1615
  • 33 Puglisi MJ, Fernandez ML. Modulation of C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and adiponectin by diet, exercise, and weight loss.  J Nutr. 2008;  138 2293-2296
  • 34 Rall LC, Roubenoff R, Cannon JG, Abad LW, Dinarello CA, Meydani SN. Effects of progressive resistance training on immune response in aging and chronic inflammation.  Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1996;  28 1356-1365
  • 35 Rasouli N, Kern PA. Adipocytokines and the metabolic complications of obesity.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008;  93 S64-S73
  • 36 Reynolds IV T, Supiano MA, Dengel DR. Resistance training enhances insulin-mediated glucose disposal with minimal effect on the tumor necrosis factor-alpha system in older hypertensives.  Metabolism. 2004;  53 397-402
  • 37 Shephard RJ. Adhesion molecules, catecholamines and leucocyte redistribution during and following exercise.  Sports Med. 2003;  33 261-284
  • 38 Siegel KR, Landt M, Klein S. Relationship between insulin sensitivity and plasma leptin concentration in lean and obese men.  Diabetes. 1996;  45 988-991
  • 39 Simpson KA, Singh MA. Effects of exercise on adiponectin: a systematic review.  Obesity. 2008;  16 241-256
  • 40 Smith C, Kruger MJ, Smith RM, Myburgh KH. The inflammatory response to skeletal muscle injury: illuminating complexities.  Sports Med. 2008;  38 947-969
  • 41 Thompson PD. Exercise and physical activity in the prevention and treatment of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.  Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2003;  23 1319-1321
  • 42 Visser M, Pahor M, Taaffe DR, Goodpaster BH, Simonsick EM, Newman AB, Nevitt M, Harris TB. Relationship of interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha with muscle mass and muscle strength in elderly men and women: The Health ABC Study.  J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2002;  57a M326-M332
  • 43 White L, Castellano V, McCoy SC. Cytokines responses to resistance training in people with multiple sclerosis.  J Sports Sci. 2006;  24 911-914
  • 44 Williams MA, Haskell WL, Ades PA, Amsterdam EA, Bittner V, Franklin BA, Gulanick M, Laing ST, Stewart KJ. American Heart Association Council on Clinical Cardiology; American Heart Association Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism. Resistance exercise in individuals with and without cardiovascular disease: 2007 update: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association Council on Clinical Cardiology and Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism.  Circulation. 2007;  116 572-584


Prof. Belmiro Freitas de Salles

Universidade do Estado do

Rio de Janeiro

Physiological Sciences


Laboratory for Clinical and

Experimental Research in

Vascular Biology (BioVasc)

Biomedical Center

Universidade do Estado do

Rio de Janeiro

20550-013 Rio de Janeiro


Phone: +55/21/32 986 592

Fax: +55/21/32 986 592