Prolonged high-intensity exercise induces fluctuating immune responses to herpes simplex virus infection via glucocorticoids

Akimasa Adachi, Tetsuya Honda, Teruki Dainichi, Gyohei Egawa, Yosuke Yamamoto, Takashi Nomura, Saeko Nakajima, Atsushi Otsuka, Masamitsu Maekawa, Nariyasu Mano, Naoto Koyanagi, Yasushi Kawaguchi, Toshiaki Ohteki, Takashi Nagasawa, Koichi Ikuta, Akihiko Kitoh, Kenji Kabashima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Epidemiologic studies have yielded conflicting results regarding the influence of a single bout of prolonged high-intensity exercise on viral infection. Objective: We sought to learn whether prolonged high-intensity exercise either exacerbates or ameliorates herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) infection according to the interval between virus exposure and exercise. Methods: Mice were intravaginally infected with HSV-2 and exposed to run on the treadmill. Results: Prolonged high-intensity exercise 17 hours after infection impaired the clearance of HSV-2, while exercise 8 hours after infection enhanced the clearance of HSV-2. These impaired or enhanced immune responses were related to a transient decrease or increase in the number of blood-circulating plasmacytoid dendritic cells. Exercise-induced glucocorticoids transiently decreased the number of circulating plasmacytoid dendritic cells by facilitating their homing to the bone marrow via the CXCL12-CXCR4 axis, which led to their subsequent increase in the blood. Conclusion: A single bout of prolonged high-intensity exercise can be either deleterious or beneficial to antiviral immunity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1575-1588.e7
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec


  • CXCL12
  • CXCR4
  • HSV-2
  • Prolonged high-intensity exercise
  • corticosterone
  • fluctuation
  • glucocorticoids
  • plasmacytoid dendritic cell
  • viral infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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