Effects of regular endurance exercise on GlycA: Combined analysis of 14 exercise interventions

Jacob L. Barber, William E. Kraus, Timothy S. Church, James M. Hagberg, Paul D. Thompson, David B. Bartlett, Michael W. Beets, Conrad P. Earnest, Kim M. Huffman, Rian Q. Landers-Ramos, Arthur S. Leon, D. C. Rao, Richard L. Seip, James S. Skinner, Cris A. Slentz, Kenneth R. Wilund, Claude Bouchard, Mark A. Sarzynski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background and aims: GlycA is a relatively new biomarker for inflammation as well as cardiometabolic disease risk. However, the effect of exercise on GlycA is largely unknown. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the effects of regular exercise on the inflammatory marker GlycA across seven studies and 14 exercise interventions. Methods: Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, specifically signal amplitudes originating from the N-acetyl methyl group protons of the N-acetylglucosamine residues on the glycan branches of glycoproteins, was used to quantify GlycA concentrations. GlycA was measured before and after completion of an exercise intervention in 1568 individuals across seven studies and 14 exercise interventions. Random effects inverse variance weighting models were used to pool effects across interventions. Results: Combined analysis of unadjusted data showed that regular exercise significantly (p = 2 × 10 −6 ) reduced plasma GlycA (−8.26 ± 1.8 μmol/L). This reduction remained significant (−9.12 ± 1.9 μmol/L, p = 1.22 × 10 −6 ) following adjustment for age, sex, race, baseline BMI, and baseline GlycA. Changes in GlycA were correlated with changes in traditional inflammatory markers, C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and fibrinogen, however, these correlations were relatively weak (range r: 0.21–0.38, p < 0.0001). Conclusions: Regular exercise significantly reduced plasma GlycA across 14 different exercise interventions despite differences in exercise programs and study populations. The current study provides a greater understanding of the use of exercise as a potential therapy for the reduction of systemic inflammation. Further research is needed to understand the mechanisms behind the exercise-related reductions in GlycA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
StatePublished - Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by multiple grants from the NIH . The exercise training studies were funded by multiple R01s: HL66262 and the Life Fitness Company (DREW) ; AG17474 and AG15389 ( GERS ); HL45670 , HL47323 , HL47317 , HL47327 , HL47321 ( HERITAGE ); HL57354 ( STRRIDE I and II ); DK081559 ( STRRIDE-PD ). In STRRIDE-PD LipoScience, Inc ( LabCorp, Inc .). kindly funded the GlycA analyses through a funded granting mechanism. MAS was supported in part by U54 GM104940 from the NIGMS , which funds the Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science Center . CB and MAS were partially supported by the NIGMS COBRE center grant 8P20 GM-1033528 . ASL is partially supported by the Henry L. Taylor Professorship in Exercise Science and Health Enhancement . CB is partially supported by the John W. Barton, Sr. Endowed Chair in Genetics and Nutrition. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health .


  • Exercise training
  • Inflammation
  • NMR spectroscopy

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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