Acute resistance exercise results in catecholaminergic rather than hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis stimulation during exercise in young men.Stress. 2010 Nov; 13(6):461-8.S
Exercise is a paradigm of a stress situation. The adaptive response to stressors comprises the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and components of the autonomic sympathetic system. An aseptic inflammatory reaction is triggered by exercise, involving the stimulation of the so-called proinflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα), interleukin-1 (IL-1), and IL-6. The anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-2, IL-8, and IL-10 increase moderately during resistance exercise. To investigate the effect of a short bout of resistance exercise on components of the stress and inflammatory responses during the exercise period, 17 healthy, young, untrained male volunteers were studied during 3 equal consecutive cycles of resistance exercises of 30 min total duration. Blood sampling was performed at baseline and at the end of each cycle. Lactate, cortisol, catecholamines (epinephrine, norepinephrine), IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, epidermal growth factor (EGF), and monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) were measured at all time-points. Circulating levels of catecholamines and lactate increased significantly (P < 0.05) whereas cortisol did not. During the time course of the exercise, circulating levels of TNFα, IL-2, and EGF increased, whereas MCP-1 decreased significantly. IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10 levels did not change significantly. Statistically significant positive linear correlations were found between areas under the curve for increases in levels of IL-2 and TNFα, TNFα and cortisol, as well as epinephrine and norepinephrine. We conclude that acute resistance exercise results in catecholaminergic, but not HPA axis stimulation during exercise, in parallel with a mild inflammatory reaction. The absence of a major inflammatory reaction and of a cortisol increase during acute resistance exercise makes this a good candidate for the exercise of sedentary individuals.