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

10 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
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
StatePublished - Oct 2018


  • Exercise training
  • Inflammation
  • NMR spectroscopy


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