Effect of exercise training on plasma levels of C-reactive protein in healthy adults: The HERITAGE Family Study

Timo A. Lakka, Hanna Maaria Lakka, Tuomo Rankinen, Arthur S. Leon, D. C. Rao, James S. Skinner, Jack H. Wilmore, Claude Bouchard

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134 Scopus citations


Aims: To study the effect of exercise training on plasma C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation. Methods and results: We performed a 20 week standardized exercise training programme in 652 sedentary healthy white and black men and women. C-reactive protein was measured with a high sensitivity assay. The study sample was stratified according to baseline C-reactive protein levels using a recommended classification (low <1.0 mg/L, n = 265; moderate 1.0-3.0 mg/L, n = 225; high >3.0 mg/L, n = 162). The median C-reactive protein reduction was 1.34 mg/L in the high baseline C-reactive protein group. C-reactive protein levels did not change in the low or moderate baseline C-reactive protein groups. The difference among the C-reactive protein groups was significant adjusting for all correlates of baseline C-reactive protein (P < 0.001) and additionally for changes in body weight, glucose, insulin, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and maximal oxygen uptake (P < 0.001). The C-reactive protein reduction in the high baseline C-reactive protein group was consistent across all population groups (P < 0.001 for difference among baseline C-reactive protein groups). Conclusion: Plasma C-reactive protein levels are reduced in response to exercise training in sedentary healthy adults with high initial C-reactive protein levels. This finding may partly explain the effectiveness of regular physical activity in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2018-2025
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean heart journal
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The HERITAGE Family Study is supported by the NHLBI through Grants HL45670 (to C.B.), HL47323 (to A.S.L.), HL47317 (to D.C.R.), HL47327 (to J.S.S.), and HL47321 (to J.H.W.). C.B. is partially supported by the George A. Bray Chair in Nutrition. A.S.L. is partially supported by the Henry L. Taylor endowed Professorship in Exercise Science and Health Enhancement. T.A.L. was supported by grants from the Academy of Finland, the Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation, the Maud Kuistila Foundation, the Paavo Nurmi Foundation, and the University of Kuopio, and is a Research Fellow of the Academy of Finland.


  • C-reactive protein
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Exercise
  • Inflammation
  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes


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