Exercise, Stress and Mucosal Immunity in Elite Swimmers
Elite athletes have been reported to be susceptible to upper respiratory tract infections (URTI), particularly during the period immediately prior to major competitions.1 Studies of the effects of exercise on immune parameters have shown that alterations in systemic immunity and cytokine levels are related to the intensity of the exercise and fitness of the athlete.2 In elite athletes decreases in salivary IgA levels have been observed following intense endurance exercise3,4 but it is not clear whether the changes are associated with an increased incidence of URTI.5 Psychological stress has also been shown to decrease salivary IgA levels,6 but the relevance of this observation to the immune fitness following fatiguing exercise is unclear. This prospective study assessed the impact of long term exercise (physical stress) and psychological stress on systemic and mucosal immunity and the relationship to URTI in a cohort of elite swimmers.
KeywordsElite Athlete Stress Score Throat Swab Coulter Electronics Elite Swimmer
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