The effects of exercise on serum interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor α levels were investigated using mice. Five-week-old female BALB/c mice (Th2-biased) and C57BL/6 mice (Th1-biased) were divided into exercise and control groups. The exercise group was exercised in a rotating basket type treadmill for 1 h (5 r.p.m.). Blood was collected and the serum was separated immediately after exercise. The serum interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor α levels were measured using an Endogen ELISA kit. Exercise significantly increased the serum interleukin-6 level in the two strains of mice (P<0.05 and P<0.01). The tumor necrosis factor α level was decreased in the exercise group. Next, periodontopathic bacterial endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide) was administered after exercise, and the effects of exercise on the lipopolysaccharide-induced serum interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor α levels were investigated. Exercise inhibited lipopolysaccharide-induced tumor necrosis factor α production, suggesting it has a defensive action against endotoxin shock.