1. We measured the concentrations of leucocyte subpopulations, immunoglobulins and complement in six well-conditioned runners before and after a typical 8-mile (12.8 km) training run at 70–75% of V̇o2 max.

2. Before running all components were within the normal range. Exercise failed to produce a significant rise in neutrophils. There was also no change in immunoglobulins or complement concentrations immediately or 24 h after exercise. Lymphocyte subpopulations were also unchanged except for a progressive rise in antibody-dependent cytotoxic effector cells (K-lymphocytes).

3. These results suggest chronic exercise training has no apparent adverse effect on circulating cellular or humoral immune components in healthy subjects. An increase in K-lymphocytes may provide added host defence capacity during periods of stress, although the mechanism of increase is unexplained.

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