Glucocorticoid receptor expression on human B cells in response to acute heavy resistance exercise

Maren S. Fragala, William J. Kraemer, Andrea M. Mastro, Craig R. Denegar, Jeff S. Volek, Brian R. Kupchak, Keijo Häkkinen, Jeffrey M. Anderson, Carl M. Maresh

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13 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine glucocorticoid receptor (GCR) expression on B lymphocytes in response to an acute bout of resistance exercise. Methods: Using a within-subject design, resistance-trained women (n = 7; age: 22.13 ± 3.09 years; height: 1.69 ± 0.084 m; body weight: 65.60 ± 10.01 kg; body mass index: 22.63 ± 2.03 kg/m 2; means ± SD) and men (n = 8; age: 23.28 ± 4.26 years; height: 1.73 ± 0.086 m; body weight: 73.93 ± 12.71 kg; body mass index: 24.51 ± 2.61 kg/m 2; means ± SD) performed an acute resistance exercise protocol (6 sets of 5 repetition maximum heavy squats) and a control test in a balanced, randomized order. Blood samples were obtained before, during, and immediately after exercise, and after 1, 6, and 24 h of recovery. GCR expression on circulating B lymphocytes was evaluated with flow cytometry, and circulating cortisol was assayed. Results: Resting GCR expression on B lymphocytes was similar between men and women. GCR expression was elevated in anticipation of exercise (p = 0.047), decreased during exercise (p = 0.049), and increased during recovery (p = 0.05 and p = 0.03 after 1 and 6 h of recovery, respectively). Trends for gender differences were apparent before and during exercise, and after 6 h of recovery. Men had significantly higher cortisol responses during (p = 0.002) and after exercise (p = 0.094) compared to before exercise. In women, however, circulating cortisol concentrations did not significantly increase in response to the squat exercise protocol. Conclusions: GCR expression on B lymphocytes decreased during resistance exercise and increased during recovery. Circulating cortisol increased during exercise in men only. Responses were attenuated in women compared to men. Our data provide insights into the temporal interactions between the endocrine and immune systems in response to acute heavy resistance exercise in men and women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-164
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology
  • Endocrinology
  • Neurology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems


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