We examined the acute and chronic effects of changes in training volume and intensity on the blood lymphocyte percentages and immunoglobulin levels in runners. Twelve runners participated in four 10-d phases of low volume/low intensity (LV/LI), high volume/low intensity (HV/LI), or high volume/high intensity (HV/LI) running. Subjects were assigned to one of two different training group orders: 1) LV/LI, HV/LI, LV/LI, HV/HI; or 2) LV/LI, HV/HI, LV/LI, HV/LI. Venous blood was drawn at rest on days 1, 4, and 7; and 5 min post-exercise on days 1 and 7 of each 10-d phase. Lymphocyte subsets were determined by flow cytometry for CD3+, CD4+, CD8+, and HLA-DR+, IgA, IgG, and IgM levels were obtained by ELISA analysis. Immunoglobulin, CD8+ and HLA-DR+ levels, and pre-exercise plasma cortisol concentrations were not significantly affected by alterations in volume or intensity. A transient decrease (P < 0.05) was observed in CD4+ and the CD4/CD8 ratio 5 min post-exercise during the HV/LI and HV/HI phases. Results indicate that the exercise-induced lymphocyte subset reduction is transient and suggest that it is more dependent upon training intensity than volume, and the training order of exposure to the high-intensity stimulus may determine the magnitude of subsequent responses.
©1995The American College of Sports Medicine