Calcif Tissue Int. 2016 Nov 19;
Aging affects negatively the immune system, defined as immunosenescence, which increases the susceptibility of elderly persons to infection, autoimmune disease, and cancer. There are strong indications that physical exercise in elderly persons may prevent the age-related decline in immune response without significant side effects. Consequently, exercise is being considered as a safe mode of intervention to reduce immunosenescence. The aim of this review was to appraise the existing evidence regarding the impact of exercise on surface markers of cellular immunosenescence in either young and old humans or animals. PubMed and Web of Science were systematically screened, and 28 relevant articles in humans or animals were retrieved. Most of the intervention studies demonstrated that an acute bout of exercise induced increases in senescent, naïve, memory CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-lymphocytes and significantly elevated apoptotic lymphocytes in peripheral blood. As regards long-term effects, exercise induced increased levels of T-lymphocytes expressing CD28(+) in both young and elderly subjects. Few studies found an increase in natural killer cell activity following a period of training. We can conclude that exercise has considerable effects on markers of cellular aspects of the immune system. However, very few studies have been conducted so far to investigate the effects of exercise on markers of cellular immunosenescence in elderly persons. Implications for immunosenescence need further investigation.