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Indoor Climbing Elicits Plasma Oxidative Stress


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: June 2007 - Volume 39 - Issue 6 - p 955-963
doi: 10.1249/mss.0b013e318038f728
BASIC SCIENCES: Original Investigations

Purpose: Indoor climbing is a worldwide sport with particular physiological and physical demands. The purpose of this study was to analyze the effect of sustained indoor climbing until exhaustion on plasma oxidative stress markers, and to relate it to whole-body dynamic exercise performed at the same percentage of maximal oxygen uptake (V˙O2max).

Methods: Fourteen male indoor climbers continuously climbed a competition-style route until exhaustion. Oxygen consumption and heart rate were continuously monitored during the climbing exercise. One week later, subjects performed a treadmill running protocol with the same duration and percentage of V˙O2max as that of climbing exercise. Blood samples were collected at rest, immediately after, and 1 h after both exercise protocols to analyze plasma levels of reduced (GSH) and oxidized (GSSG) glutathione, malondialdehyde (MDA), protein sulfhydryl (−SH) and carbonyl (CG) groups, total antioxidant status (TAS) and uric acid (UA), and total blood leukocytes, neutrophil, and lymphocyte counts.

Results: Compared with running, climbing significantly increased the %GSSG, MDA, CG, TAS, and UA and decreased the GSH and −SH content. Blood counts of total leukocytes and neutrophils increased immediately after and 1 h after both running and climbing (P < 0.05), although counts were higher in climbing than in running (P < 0.05). Lymphocytes significantly increased from baseline to 0 h, although they decreased below baseline 1 h after climbing (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: Data demonstrate that indoor climbing induces plasma oxidative stress. Moreover, results suggest that an ischemia-reperfusion prooxidant-based mechanism related to climbers' sustained and intermittent isometric forearm muscle contractions might have significantly contributed to observed plasma oxidative stress.

1Department of Sport Biology, Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Porto, PORTUGAL; 2Research Center in Physical Activity, Health and Leisure, University of Porto, PORTUGAL; 3Department of Clinical Analysis, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Porto, PORTUGAL; and 4Institute for Molecular and Cell Biology-IBMC, University of Porto, PORTUGAL

Address for correspondence: José Magalhães, Department of Sport Biology, Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Porto, Portugal, Rua Dr. Plácido Costa, 91, 4200-450 Porto, Portugal; E-mail:

Submitted for publication June 2006.

Accepted for publication January 20007.

©2007The American College of Sports Medicine