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Effects of Long-Endurance Running on Immune System Parameters and Lymphocyte Function in Experienced Marathoners
14 March 2008 (online)
The extent and duration of changes in leukocyte subsets, lymphocyte subpopulations, spontaneous blastogenesis, cortisol, and catecholamines were measured in ten experienced marathoners, who ran 3 h to exhaustion in a laboratory setting. Blood samples were taken at baseline, 1 h of exercise, and 5 min, 1.5 h, 6 h, and 21 h of recovery. The 3-h endurance run was associated with significant leukocytosis, granulocytosis, neutrophilia, monocytosis, and eosinopenia during recovery. All of these parameters except for eosinophils returned to normal by 21 h of recovery. Total lymphocyte count increased 31% at 1 h of exercise, then decreased 19% at 1.5 h of recovery when compared with baseline values. T cell count showed no significant changes, but B cell lymphocytosis was measured at 5 min and 6 h of recovery. T helper/T suppressor ratio (H/S) was significantly elevated 39% at both 1.5 h and 21 h of recovery due to the decrease in number of T suppressor cells. Spontaneous blastogenesis was significantly increased 52% by 1 h of exercise and remained elevated throughout recovery. The increase in cortisol from baseline to 1.5 h of recovery correlated positively with the increase in both total leukocyte count (r=0.78, P=0.008) and granulocyte count (r=0.81, P=0.005). Our results suggest that exhaustive endurance exercise in marathon runners is associated with many significant perturbations in immune system parameters, most of which return to normal levels at 21 h of recovery.
leukocyte - lymphocytes - cortisol - catecholamines - running