International Journal of Biological Sciences

Impact factor

ISSN 1449-2288

News feeds of IJBS published articles
Manuscript login

open access Global reach, higher impact

Journal of Genomics in PubMed Central. Submit manuscript now...


International Journal of Medical Sciences

Journal of Cancer

Journal of Genomics


Journal of Bone and Joint Infection (JBJI)


Journal of Biomedicine

PubMed Central Indexed in Journal Impact Factor

Int J Biol Sci 2009; 5(4):338-343. doi:10.7150/ijbs.5.338

Research Paper

Modulation of NKT cells and Th1/Th2 imbalance after α-GalCer treatment in progressive load-trained rats

Wang Ru, Chen Peijie

Department of Sports Medicine, Shanghai University of Sport, Shanghai 200438, China


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine whether α-galactosylceramide (α-GalCer), a synthetic glycolipid agonist of natural killer T (NKT) cells, can ameliorate exercise-induced immune imbalance. Methods: Eight-week-old female Sprague-Dawley rats were trained with a progressively increasing load for 9 weeks. At 36 h and at 7 d after training, groups of rats were euthanized. The whole blood was used to detect hemoglobin(Hb), plasma was analyzed for hormones testosterone(T) and corticosterone(C), and spleen was harvested for detecting NKT cells and interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and interleukin (IL)-4 producing cells. Results: Two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed significant differences between training and time in Series 1. The results showed, at 36h after training, that the decrease in Hb, T and C concentration reflected overtraining or excessive exercise. At 7 d after training, NKT cell populations decreased, and a T helper 1/T helper 2 (Th1/Th2) lymphocyte imbalance occurred. In Series 2, α-galactosylceramide (α-GalCer), an NKT cell activator was found to enhance NKT cell numbers by 69% and shift the Th1/Th2 lymphocyte imbalance by observably decreasing the frequency of IL-4 secreting cells. Conclusion: These data showed that, in addition to Th1/Th2 self-regulation, α-GalCer played an important modulatory role in the exercise-induced Th1/Th2 lymphocyte imbalance, which may be correlative with NKT immunoregulatory cells.

Keywords: Natural Killer T cells, α-Galactosylceramide, Immunomodulation, exercise-induced immunosuppression, T help 1/T helpe 2 lymphocytes.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) License. See for full terms and conditions.
How to cite this article:
Ru W, Peijie C. Modulation of NKT cells and Th1/Th2 imbalance after α-GalCer treatment in progressive load-trained rats. Int J Biol Sci 2009; 5(4):338-343. doi:10.7150/ijbs.5.338. Available from