A simple 15 min exercise task improves the antibody response to pneumococcal vaccination

Kate M. Edwards, Meredith Pung, Lianne Tomfohr, John P. Campbell, Michael G. Ziegler, Mark T. Drayson, Paul J. Mills

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review

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Purpose of Study: Vaccination is a remarkable medical achievement, but many vaccines elicit poor responses, which limits efficacy. Exercise has been identified as a possible behavioural adjuvant; brief muscle damaging exercise immediately prior to vaccination enhances antibody responses with effects mostly confined to strains showing weaker control responses. Here, we tested the effect of exercise on the response to either a full or half dose of Pneumococcal (Pn) vaccine. The exercise task was developed for clinical applicability, minimizing equipment, and inducing less muscle damage. Subjects & Methods: Subjects were 132 young healthy adults (75 women; age: 22 ± 2.7years; BMI: 23 ± 3.8Kg/m2), who were randomized to one of four groups: Exercise or control task, receiving a full or half dose Pn vaccination. Prior to vaccination, exercise groups completed a 15 min task using resistance bands involving 30s of arm and shoulder exercise and 30s rest alternations. Control subjects rested quietly during this time. Antibody levels to 11 Pn strains were evaluated at baseline and 1 month. Summary of results: To assess overall effect of exercise, a multivariate ANOVA was performed with change scores (1 month-baseline) for all 11 Pn strains. A significant effect of group showed an overall greater change in antibody levels among all strains in the exercise groups. Subsequent analyses used averaged antibody values, with a repeated measures ANOVA with four groups and gender. A significant group by dose by sex interaction (p > .05) was detected, driven by women, with the exercise half dose group showing an enhanced response over the control half dose group. Discussion: The current data showed an overall effect of enhanced response among the exercise vs control groups. Specifically, this effect was found in the half dose group, with women, showing exercise-enhanced responses. The current study adds to data indicating the effectiveness of exercise as a vaccine adjuvant, particularly in weaker responses, modeled by a half dose given in young healthy adults. This evidence is important in future application of this effect in at risk groups, who are in greatest need of improvement of immune responses to vaccination.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-60
Number of pages2
JournalPsychosomatic Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2011


  • antibody
  • vaccine
  • adjuvant
  • Pneumococcus vaccine
  • exercise
  • vaccination
  • society
  • psychosomatics
  • antibody response
  • female
  • normal human
  • analysis of variance
  • shoulder
  • gender
  • control group
  • high risk population
  • immune response
  • muscle
  • muscle injury
  • arm
  • achievement


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