Biphasic changes in leukocytes induced by strenuous exercise

  • John-Bjarne Hansen
  • Line Wilsgård
  • Bjarne Østerud
Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF00643735

Cite this article as:
Hansen, JB., Wilsgård, L. & Østerud, B. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. (1991) 62: 157. doi:10.1007/BF00643735

Summary

Seven healthy male volunteers participated in short- (STR, 1.7 km), middle- (MTR, 4.8 km) and long- (LTR, 10.5 km) term runs at a speed close to their maximum. A prompt mobilization of white cells, and lymphocytes in particular, appeared following the exercise. The initial increase in the number of lymphocytes was succeeded by a significant decrease [(P < 0.03) lymphopenia), which on average was 32%–39% of the pre-exercise values in all groups. A close correlation was found between the initial increase in plasma cortisol concentration after exercise and the subsequent lymphopenia. A modest enhancement in the number of granulocytes immediately after the exercise was accompanied by a comprehensive increase in polymorphonuclear (PMN) elastase concentration accounting for 78.6%, SEM 16.3%, 140.7%, SEM 31.8% and 241.3%, SEM 48.1% in the STR, MTR and LTR groups. No correlation was found between granulocyte number and the plasma PMN elastase concentration. A delayed granulocytosis was noted in all subjects, reaching a peak between 2 and 4 h after the exercise. The magnitude of the granulocytosis varied among subjects and peak values of the number of circulating granulocytes were found to be 5.7 × 109 cells · 1−1, SEM 0.5, 6.7 × 109 cells · 1−1, SEM 0.6 and 8.8 × 109 cells · 1−1, SEM 0.5 in STR, MTR and LTR respectively, whereas the mean baseline value was 3.6 × 109 cells · 1−1, SEM 0.4. The neutrophilic granulocytosis was not accompanied by a corresponding enhancement in PMN elastase concentration. The plasma cortisol concentration reached a peak 30 min after exercise and declined below the control level in 4 h. Neither the initial increase, nor the subsequent decrease in plasma cortisol concentration were found to be essential for the magnitude of the delayed leukocytosis.

Key words

Lymphopenia Granulocytosis Cortisol and physical exercise 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • John-Bjarne Hansen
    • 1
  • Line Wilsgård
    • 1
  • Bjarne Østerud
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Medical BiologyUniversity of TromsøTromsøNorway

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