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European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 115, Issue 5, pp 1015–1027 | Cite as

Fitness level impacts salivary antimicrobial protein responses to a single bout of cycling exercise

  • Hawley Kunz
  • Nicolette C. Bishop
  • Guillaume Spielmann
  • Mira Pistillo
  • Justin Reed
  • Teja Ograjsek
  • Yoonjung Park
  • Satish K. Mehta
  • Duane L. Pierson
  • Richard J. Simpson
Original Article

Abstract

Purpose

Salivary antimicrobial proteins (sAMPs) protect the upper respiratory tract (URTI) from invading microorganisms and have been linked with URTI infection risk in athletes. While high training volume is associated with increased URTI risk, it is not known if fitness affects the sAMP response to acute exercise. This study compared the sAMP responses to various exercising workloads of highly fit experienced cyclists with those who were less fit.

Methods

Seventeen experienced cyclists (nine highly fit; eight less fit) completed three 30-min exercise trials at workloads corresponding to −5, +5 and +15 % of the individual blood lactate threshold. Saliva samples were collected pre- and post-exercise to determine the concentration and secretion of α-amylase, human neutrophil proteins 1–3 (HNP1–3) lactoferrin, LL-37, lysozyme, and salivary SIgA.

Results

The concentration and/or secretion of all sAMPs increased post-exercise, but only α-amylase was sensitive to exercise workload. Highly fit cyclists had lower baseline concentrations of α-amylase, HNP1–3, and lactoferrin, although secretion rates did not differ between the groups. Highly fit cyclists did, however, exhibit greater post-exercise increases in the concentration and/or secretion of a majority of measured sAMPs (percentage difference between highly fit and less fit in parentheses), including α-amylase concentration (+107 %) and secretion (+148 %), HNP1–3 concentration (+97 %) and secretion (+158 %), salivary SIgA concentration (+181 %), lactoferrin secretion (+209 %) and LL-37 secretion (+138 %).

Conclusion

We show for the first time that fitness level is a major determinant of exercise-induced changes in sAMPs. This might be due to training-induced alterations in parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system activation.

Keywords

Innate mucosal immunity Salivary antimicrobial proteins Exercise intensity Fitness Exercise training 

Abbreviations

sAMP

Salivary antimicrobial protein

URTI

Upper respiratory tract infection

SIgA

Secretory Immunoglobulin A

HNP

Human neutrophil peptide

BLT

Blood lactate threshold

RPM

Revolutions per minute

RPE

Rating of perceived exertion

ANOVA

Analysis of variance

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by NASA Grant NNX12AB48G to R.J. Simpson.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hawley Kunz
    • 1
  • Nicolette C. Bishop
    • 1
    • 2
  • Guillaume Spielmann
    • 1
  • Mira Pistillo
    • 1
  • Justin Reed
    • 1
  • Teja Ograjsek
    • 1
  • Yoonjung Park
    • 1
  • Satish K. Mehta
    • 3
  • Duane L. Pierson
    • 1
    • 3
  • Richard J. Simpson
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Integrated Physiology, Department of Health and Human PerformanceUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA
  2. 2.School of Sport, Exercise and Health SciencesLoughborough UniversityLoughboroughUK
  3. 3.Division of Biomedical and Environmental SciencesNASA Johnson Space CenterHoustonUSA

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