Eur J Appl Physiol. 2016 Mar;116(3):601-9
PURPOSE: The goal of this study was to compare the effect of work- and duration-matched interval training (HIIT) versus moderate aerobic endurance training (ET) on acute and chronic inflammation, along with changes in the lipid profile, to determine which may be more beneficial for improving cardiovascular health.
METHODS: Twelve sedentary males (maximal oxygen consumption = 41.6 ± 5.4 mL kg(-1) min(-1)) completed 8 weeks of aerobic interval training or moderate aerobic training, with variables including C-reactive protein (CRP) for chronic inflammation, interleukin-6 (IL-6) response for the acute inflammatory response, plasma concentrations of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TRG), and low-density lipoprotein, and body composition measured before and after the training period.
RESULTS: HIIT decreased plasma TRG from 92 ± 32 to 61 ± 12 mg dL(-1), which was significantly different from ET, while ET improved the TC:HDL ratio from 4.67 ± 0.85 to 4.07 ± 0.96 and reduced the percentage of android fat from 36.78 ± 9.60 to 34.18 ± 11.39 %. Neither training protocol resulted in an acute IL-6 response on the first nor the last day of exercise, a change in chronic levels of CRP, or a significant increase in HDL, despite previous research finding these changes.
CONCLUSIONS: It seems that in order to maximize the health outcomes from physical activity, both HIIT and ET should be included. The acute inflammatory response and reductions in chronic inflammation resulting from exercise training may not be as common as the literature suggests.