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Exercise in the Heat: Effect of Fluid Ingestion on Blood-Brain Barrier Permeability


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: December 2006 - Volume 38 - Issue 12 - p 2118-2124
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000235356.31932.0a
BASIC SCIENCES: Original Investigations

Introduction: This study examined changes in serum S100β concentration, a peripheral marker of BBB permeability, in response to exercise in the heat with and without fluid ingestion.

Methods: Eight physically active males completed up to 90 min of intermittent exercise at a power output corresponding to 55% V˙O2peak in a warm environment (35°C, 56% rh). Trials were completed with (F trial) and without (NF trial) the replacement of sweat losses. During the fluid trial, an aliquot of plain water was ingested at 15-min intervals to match the volume of sweat lost during the previous period of exercise.

Results: Exercise time was 80.7 ± 13.0 min in the NF trial and 85.1 ± 9.5 min in the F trial (P = 0.107). Fluid ingestion resulted in a smaller rise in core temperature (P = 0.050) and heart rate (P = 0.027) during the latter stages of exercise. Serum S100β concentrations were 0.08 ± 0.02 μg·L−1 at rest, increasing to 0.20 ± 0.06 μg·L−1 at the end of exercise in the NF trial, with this response attenuated by the ingestion of fluid (0.13 ± 0.03 μg·L−1; P = 0.046). Both serum sodium concentration (P < 0.001) and serum osmolality (P = 0.003) were significantly lower at the end of exercise in the F trial than in the NF trial.

Conclusion: The results of this study demonstrate that water ingestion can limit exercise-induced increases in serum S100β, consistent with the preservation of BBB integrity. It is possible that this response was mediated through the maintenance of lower extracellular osmolality late in exercise, thus potentially limiting the osmotically driven movement of fluid across the BBB.

School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, UNITED KINGDOM

Address for correspondence: Phillip Watson, Ph.D., School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, United Kingdom; E-mail:

Submitted for publication March 2006.

Accepted for publication June 2006.

©2006The American College of Sports Medicine