Effect of Tai Chi Exercise on Immune Function in Middle-aged and Elderly Women
- *Corresponding Author:
- Jing Liu, Ph.D.
Department of Martial Arts
Shanghai University of Sport
588 Qing Yuan Huan Road
Shanghai 200438, China
E-mail: [email protected]
- Chunying Li, Ph.D.
Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
University School of Medicine
540 E. Canfield, 5312 Scott
Detroit, MI 48201,USA
Tel: (313) 577-4182
Fax: (313) 577-2765
E-mail: [email protected], [email protected]
Received Date: September 27, 2012; Accepted Date: November 09, 2012; Published Date: November 11, 2012
Citation: Liu J, Chen P, Wang R, Yuan Y, Li C (2012) Effect of Tai Chi Exercise on Immune Function in Middle-aged and Elderly Women. J Sports Med Doping Stud 2:119. doi:10.4172/2161-0673.1000119
Copyright: © 2012 Liu J, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of Tai Chi (TC) exercise on immune functions among middle-aged and elderly women, and to evaluate the relationship between immune modulation of Natural Killer T (NKT) cells and Dendritic Cells (DCs) and T Helper (Th) 1 /Th2 immune response.
Methods: Sixty healthy middle-aged and elderly women were randomly assigned into 2 groups: Tai Chi (TC) group (n=30) and control (CON) group (n=30). Subjects in TC group participated in TC exercise for 6 months, 60 minutes a day, four times a week. Meanwhile, subjects in CON group maintained their normal physical activity levels during the whole study period. Peripheral blood samples were collected right before, and after 4 and 6 months of the exercise program, and the sampled were analyzed within 24 hours after collection.
Results: After the 6-month TC exercise program, the percentage of CD4+ T lymphocytes, the CD4+:CD8+ ratio, and the percentage of NK and NKT cells in TC group significantly increased (p<0.05). The percentage of interferon-γ (IFN-γ) producing T cells increased significantly after 4 months (p<0.01) and 6 months (p<0.05) of exercise. The percentage of interleukin-4 (IL-4) producing T lymphocytes also demonstrated an increase after 4 months (p<0.05) and 6 months (p>0.05) of exercise. The percentage of CD123+ DCs and CD11c+ DCs also significantly increased after the 6-month program (p<0.01), with the percentage of CD11c+ cells increasing much more dramatically than CD123+ DCs. However, the CON group did not show any significant changes in these parameters.
Conclusion: Regular TC exercise favors the development of Th1 immune responses in middle-aged and elderly women. TC-induced changes in Th1 and Th2 immune responses are associated with the immune modulation of NKT cells and DCs and their reciprocal interactions.