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Anxiety and perceived psychological stress play an important role in the immune response after exercise

Edwards, JP, Walsh, NP, Diment, PC and Roberts, R (2018) Anxiety and perceived psychological stress play an important role in the immune response after exercise. Exercise Immunology Review, 24. pp. 26-34. ISSN 1077-5552

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Abstract

There are common pathways by which psychological stress and exercise stress alter immunity. However, it remains unknown whether psychological stress plays a role in the in vivo immune response to exercise. We examined the relationship between anxiety and perceived psychological stress reported before exercise and in vivo immunity after exercise using skin sensitisation with Diphenylcyclopropenone (DPCP). In a randomised design, sixty four, thoroughly familiarised, males completed widely used psychological instruments to assess state-anxiety and perceived psychological stress before exercise, and ran either 30 minutes at 60% (30MI) or 80% (30HI) V . O2peak, 120 minutes at 60% (120MI) V . O2peak or rested (CON) before DPCP sensitisation. Cutaneous recall to DPCP was measured as the dermal thickening response to a low-dose series DPCP challenge 4-weeks after sensitisation. After accounting for exercise (R2 = 0.20; P < 0.01), multiple-regression showed that pre-exercise state-anxiety (STAI-S; DeltaR2 = 0.19; P < 0.01) and perceived psychological stress (DeltaR2 = 0.13; P < 0.05) were moderately associated with the DPCP response after exercise. The STAI-S scores before exercise were considered low-to-moderate in these familiarised individuals (median split; mean STAI-S of low 25 and moderate 34). Further examination showed that the DPCP response after exercise (30MI, 30HI or 120MI) was 62% lower in those reporting low vs. moderate state-anxiety before exercise (mean difference in dermal thickening: -2.6 mm; 95% CI: -0.8 to -4.4 mm; P < 0.01). As such, the results indicate a beneficial effect of moderate (vs. low) state-anxiety and perceived psychological stress on in vivo immunity after exercise. Moreover, correlations were of comparable strength for the relationship between physiological stress (heart rate training impulse) and the summed dermal response to DPCP (r = -0.37; 95% CI: -0.05 to -0.62; P = 0.01), and state-anxiety and the summed dermal response to DPCP (r = 0.39; 95% CI: 0.08 to 0.63; P < 0.01). In conclusion, state-anxiety and perceived psychological stress levels before exercise play animportant role in determining the strength of the in vivo immune response after exercise. These findings indicate a similar strength relationship for the level of state-anxiety prior to exercise and the level of physiological stress during exercise with the in vivo immune response after exercise. Future research is required to investigate exercise-immune responses in athletes, military personnel and others in physically demanding occupations experiencing higher levels of psychological stress than those reported in this study e.g. related to important competition, military operations and major life events. Nevertheless, the present findings support the recommendation that exercise scientists should account for anxiety and psychological stress when examining the immune response to exercise.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1106 Human Movement and Sports Sciences
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
Divisions: Sports & Exercise Sciences
Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Sports Medicine
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2020 10:18
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2020 10:18
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/12470

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