Int J Sports Med 2004; 25(6): 471-476
DOI: 10.1055/s-2004-821119

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Immune System Alteration in Response to Increased Physical Training During a Five Day Soccer Training Camp

C. Malm1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , Ö. Ekblom1 , 2 , B. Ekblom1 , 2
  • 1Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2Stockholm University College of Physical Education and Sport, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 3University of Umeå, Department of Integrative Medical Biology, Umeå, Sweden
  • 4Winternet, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden
Further Information

Publication History

Accepted after revision: September 20, 2003

Publication Date:
02 September 2004 (online)


Leukocyte and monocyte subpopulations were investigated in ten elite male soccer players before and after a 5-day training camp. It was hypothesized that with increased training intensity and duration, the immune system would show signs of depression. Blood samples were taken at rest before and after the training camp and cell surface antigens were investigated by four-colour flow cytometry. After five days of intensified training, there was a significant decrease in the number of T helper, T cytotoxic and B cells, the expression of CD11 b on leukocytes increased and the NK cell population did not change significantly. It is concluded that after a period of intensified training, soccer players may experience decreased T and B cell numbers in circulation, possibly affecting their capability to activate the immune system and resist infections. However, in contrast to the acute decrease in the number of circulating NK cells commonly observed after physical exercise, no change in this cell population was observed at rest after a period of intensified physical training. Exercise-induced immunological changes were highly differentiated between different leukocyte subpopulations.


PhD Christer Malm

Umeå University · Department of Integrative Medical Biology · Section for Anatomy

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