Leicht_Comparable neutrophil responses for arm exercise.pdf (269.55 kB)

Comparable neutrophil responses for arm exercise and intensity-matched leg exercise

Download (269.55 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 24.03.2017 by Christof Leicht, Vicky Goosey-Tolfrey, Nicolette Bishop
Introduction: Arm exercise is performed at lower absolute intensities than lower body exercise. This may impact on intensity dependent neutrophil responses and it is unknown whether individuals restricted to arm exercise experience the same changes in the neutrophil response as found for lower body exercise. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the importance of exercise modality and relative exercise intensity on the neutrophil response. Methods: Twelve moderately trained males performed three 45-min constant load exercise trials following determination of peak oxygen uptake for arm exercise (V̇O2peak arms) and cycling (V̇O2peak legs): (1) arm cranking exercise at 60%V̇O2peak arms; (2) moderate cycling at 60%V̇O2peak legs; and (3) easy cycling at 60%V̇O2peak arms. Results: Neutrophil numbers in the circulation increased for all exercise trials, but were significantly lower for easy cycling when compared with arm exercise (P=0.009), mirroring the blunted increase in heart rate and epinephrine during easy cycling. For all trials, exercising heart rate explained some of the variation of the neutrophil number 2h post exercise (R=0.51-0.69), epinephrine explaining less of this variation (R=0.21-0.34). The number of neutrophils expressing CXCR2 decreased in the recovery from exercise in all trials (P<0.05). Conclusion: Arm and leg exercise elicits the same neutrophil response when performed at the same relative intensity, implying that populations restricted to arm exercise might achieve a similar exercise induced neutrophil response as those performing lower body exercise. A likely explanation for this is the higher sympathetic activation and cardiac output for arm and relative intensity matched leg exercise when compared with easy cycling, which is partly reflected in heart rate. This study further shows that the downregulation of CXCR2 may be implicated in exercise-induced neutrophilia.


This research was supported by the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport and a grant from JMP Holdings (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia).



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise


LEICHT, C.A., GOOSEY-TOLFREY, V.L. and BISHOP, N., 2017. Comparable neutrophil responses for arm exercise and intensity-matched leg exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 49(8), pp.1716-1723.


© American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Acceptance date


Publication date



This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise and the definitive published version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0000000000001258