Int J Sports Med 2000; 21(1): 21-24
DOI: 10.1055/s-2000-8852
Physiology and Biochemistry
Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart ·New York

Reduction of the Plasma Concentration of C-Reactive Protein Following Nine Months of Endurance Training

 F. Mattusch 1 ,  B. Dufaux1 ,  O. Heine2 ,  I. Mertens2 ,  R. Rost 2 +
  • 1 Laboratory Dr. Krone and Partner, Herford, Germany
  • 2 Institute for Cardiology and Sports Medicine, German Sport University Cologne, Germany
  • + deceased on 26 December 1998
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31. Dezember 2000 (online)

An intense physical exercise induces an inflammatory reaction as demonstrated by the delayed increase in blood of acute phase proteins and among them of C-reactive protein (CRP). There is also evidence for a diminished acute phase reaction due to regular exercise suggesting a suppression of the inflammatory response through training. With this background CRP was measured by a sensitive enzyme immunoassay under resting conditions before and after 9 months of training in 14 subjects preparing for a marathon with the aim of studying the effect of training on the base-line CRP concentration. The mean distance run per week increased significantly from 31 ± 9 km at the beginning to 53 ± 15 km after 8 months of training (p < 0.01). The aerobic capacity rose significantly after training as demonstrated by the increase of running velocity during a maximal treadmill test from 3.82 ± 0.29 m/s pre-training to 4.17 ± 0.17 m/s post-training at a blood lactate concentration of 4 mmol/L (p < 0.01). In 10 of 12 runners base-line CRP was diminished after training in spite of a continuous increase of training intensity. The CRP median fell from 1.19 mg/L before to 0.82 mg/L after training (p < 0.05). Since intense physical exercise is known to be associated with an inflammatory reaction of muscles and tendons, the CRP decrease was unexpected. In 2 subjects the CRP concentration rose markedly because of a borrelia infection and a knee injury, respectively. These values were caused by a pathological condition and were not considered for the statistical evaluation. In 10 non-training control subjects the CRP median did not change significantly during the same 9 months period. The decrease of the CRP base-line concentration after training suggests that intensive regular exercise has a systemic anti-inflammatory effect. This is of particular interest with regard to several recent reports confering on the concentration of CRP in plasma a predictive value for the risk of cardiac infarction, venous thrombosis or stroke.


Dr. Oliver Heine

Institute for Cardiology and Sports Medicine German Sport University Cologne


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