The Impact of Acute Aerobic Exercise on Natural Killer Cell, Catecholamine, and Cortisol Responses in Breast Cancer Survivors Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Evans, Elizabeth Serex
    • Affiliation: School of Medicine, Department of Allied Health Sciences, Curriculum in Human Movement Science
  • PURPOSE: The purpose of this investigation was to compare the effect of acute moderate intensity aerobic exercise on natural killer (NK) cell, catecholamine, and cortisol responses between breast cancer survivors and matched healthy controls. Additionally, relationships between post-exercise changes in NK cell responses and post-exercise changes in catecholamines and cortisol were examined. PARTICIPANTS: Data were collected from 9 women who had been treated for Stage I-III invasive breast cancer 3-6 months prior to enrollment and 9 healthy sedentary women without a history of cancer treatment. Subjects exercised for 30 minutes on a cycle ergometer at 60% of VO2peak. Blood samples were obtained pre-exercise, immediately post-exercise, 2 hours post-exercise, and 24 hours post-exercise. METHODS: NK cell counts and NK cell cytotoxic activity (NKCA) were measured via flow cytometric analysis. Plasma catecholamines (epinephrine and norepinephrine) and cortisol were measured via ELISA techniques. RESULTS: Percent changes in NK cell counts were similar between groups across time (p > 0.05), although absolute cell counts were somewhat lower in breast cancer survivors pre-exercise and immediately post-exercise. NKCA was not significantly different across the study time points in the subset of breast cancer survivors (p > 0.05). Epinephrine levels were significantly elevated in the breast cancer survivor group pre-exercise, immediately post-exercise, and 24 hours post-exercise compared to controls (p < 0.05). Percent change in epinephrine was somewhat lower in the breast cancer group immediately post-exercise and significantly lower in breast cancer survivors at 2 hours post-exercise (p < 0.05). Cortisol levels were somewhat higher in breast cancer patients immediately post-exercise, and percent change in cortisol immediately post-exercise increased in breast cancer survivors but decreased in controls (p < 0.05). Changes in NK cell counts were not significantly correlated with changes in catecholamines or cortisol in the breast cancer survivor group. Change in NK cell counts was significantly correlated with change in cortisol at 2 hours post-exercise in the control group (p < 0.05). CONCLUSION: These results suggest that acute moderate aerobic exercise may have similar effects on the immune system in breast cancer survivors and healthy controls, whereas it may lead to differing stress hormone responses in breast cancer survivors. Acute NK cell responses may be related to other biologic factors yet to be determined.
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  • In Copyright
  • Battaglini, Claudio L.
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2012

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