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Exercise acutely increases vitamin D receptor expression in T lymphocytes in vitamin D-deficient men, independent of age

Lithgow, Hannah; Florida?James, Geraint; Ross, Mark; Duncan, Gary; Leggate, Melanie


Hannah Lithgow

Gary Duncan


Vitamin D plays a key role in the modulation of the immune system, mediated through the intracellular vitamin D receptor (VDR). Exercise has been shown to influence the activity and availability of the VDR. This study aimed to investigate the effect of age on basal immune cell (T-lymphocytes) VDR expression and the subsequent effect of acute aerobic exercise to modulate VDR expression in peripheral T-cells. Thirty-five males were included in the study (means ± SD: age 44 ± 17 y, BMI 25.7 ± 3.1 kg·m-2), separated into three age groups: 18-30 y (n=12), 31-45 y (n=11), and 60-75 y (n=12). Participants completed two trials: control (CON) and aerobic exercise (AE), with blood samples collected pre- and post-exercise (0 h, 1h, and 3 h). Peripheral blood T-cells were isolated and analysed for VDR expression by flow cytometry. The results show that advanced age is associated with lower VDR expression in T-cells (882 ± 274 vs 796 ± 243 vs 594 ± 174 geomean). Acute AE was successful at acutely increasing VDR expression in T-cells, irrespective of age. Advanced age corresponds to a lower T cell VDR expression, which may be responsible for age-associated development of chronic conditions and autoimmunity. Exercise was successful in increasing VDR expression in T-cells irrespective of age and independent of exercise-induced T cell mobilisation.


Lithgow, H., Florida?James, G., Ross, M., Duncan, G., & Leggate, M. (2021). Exercise acutely increases vitamin D receptor expression in T lymphocytes in vitamin D-deficient men, independent of age. Experimental Physiology, 106(7), 1460-1469.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 1, 2021
Online Publication Date May 19, 2021
Publication Date 2021-07
Deposit Date Apr 8, 2021
Publicly Available Date May 19, 2021
Journal Experimental Physiology
Print ISSN 0958-0670
Electronic ISSN 1469-445X
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 106
Issue 7
Pages 1460-1469
Keywords Vitamin D, 25(OH)D, Vitamin D receptor (VDR), Exercise, Ageing
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Exercise Acutely Increases Vitamin D Receptor (VDR) Expression In T-lymphocytes In Vitamin D Deficient Men, Independent Of Age (1.2 Mb)

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Copyright Statement
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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