Whole body vibration elicits differential immune and metabolic responses in obese and normal weight individuals

Type Article

Journal Article


A. M. Blanks; P. Rodriguez-Miguelez; J. Looney; M. A. Tucker; J. Jeong; J. Thomas; M. Blackburn; D. W. Stepp; N. J. Weintraub; R. A. Harris

Year of publication



Brain, Behavior, and Immunity - Health






Traditional aerobic exercise reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases by inducing immune, metabolic, and myokine responses. Following traditional exercise, both the magnitude and time-course of these beneficial responses are different between obese compared to normal weight individuals. Although obesity may affect the ability to engage in traditional exercise, whole body vibration (WBV) has emerged as a more tolerable form of exercise. The impact of WBV on immune, metabolic, and myokine responses as well as differences between normal weight and obese individuals, however, is unknown. Purpose: To determine if WBV elicits differential magnitudes and time-courses of immune, metabolic, and myokine responses between obese and normal weight individuals. Methods: 21 participants [Obese (OB): n = 11, Age: 33 ± 4 y, percent body fat (%BF): 39.1 ± 2.4% & Normal weight (NW) n = 10, Age: 28 ± 8 y, %BF: 17.4 ± 2.1%] engaged in 10 cycles of WBV exercise [1 cycle = 1 min of vibration followed by 30 s of rest]. Blood samples were collected pre-WBV (PRE), immediately (POST), 3 h (3H), and 24 h (24H) post-WBV and analyzed for leukocytes, insulin, glucose, and myokines (IL-6, decorin, myostatin). Results: The peak (3H) percent change in neutrophil counts (OB: 13.9 ± 17.4 vs. NW: 47.2 ± 6.2%Δ; p = 0.007) was different between groups. The percent change in neutrophil percentages was increased in NW (POST: -1.6 ± 2.0 vs. 3H: 13.0 ± 7.2%Δ, p = 0.019) but not OB (p > 0.05). HOMA β-cell function was increased at 24H (PRE: 83.4 ± 5.4 vs. 24H: 131.0 ± 14.1%; p = 0.013) in NW and was not altered in OB (p > 0.05). PRE IL-6 was greater in OB compared to NW (OB: 2.7 ± 0.6 vs. NW: 0.6 ± 0.1 pg/mL; p = 0.011); however, the percent change from PRE to peak (3H) was greater in NW (OB: 148.1 ± 47.9 vs. NW: 1277.9 ± 597.6 %Δ; p = 0.035). Creatine kinase, decorin, and myostatin were not significantly altered in either group (p > 0.05). Conclusion: Taken together, these data suggest that acute whole body vibration elicits favorable immune, metabolic, and myokine responses and that these responses differ between obese and normal weight individuals.