Interleukin-12 (IL-12) is a cytokine that was originally identified as natural killer cell stimulatory factor. It induces the activity of T-helper 1 (Th1) cells and exhibits strong anti-tumor activity. In this study, we studied the effects of brief anaerobic maximal exercise on circulating levels of IL-12. Six healthy males [mean (SD) 25.2 (2.6) years] performed a modified Wingate test exercise (resistance 0.075 kg/kg of body mass). The exercise consisted of five bouts of maximal cycling for 10 s, with rest intervals of 50 s between them. Blood samples were taken before, immediately after, 30 min after, 60 min after and 120 min after the exercise. Plasma concentrations of IL-12 were measured using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Data were corrected for hemoglobin and hematocrit measurements. Plasma concentrations of IL-12 averaged [mean (SD)] 234.2 (40.9) pg/ml before, 305.2 (62.1) pg/ml immediately after, 202.8 (24.2) pg/ml 30 min after, 239.7 (35.1) pg/ml 60 min after, and 199.6 (49.2) pg/ml 120 min after the exercise. We showed that plasma concentrations of IL-12 increased significantly immediately after brief anaerobic maximal cycle ergometer exercise (P < 0.01).
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