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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156 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
Pages (from-to)2018-2025
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean heart journal
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 2005


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


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