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Circulating Progenitor Cell Response to Exercise in Wheelchair Racing Athletes

NIEMIRO, GRACE M.1; EDWARDS, THOMAS1; BARFIELD, J. P.2; BEALS, JOSEPH W.1; BROAD, ELIZABETH M.3; MOTL, ROBERT W.4; BURD, NICHOLAS A.1; PILUTTI, LARA A.5; DE LISIO, MICHAEL1,5,6

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: January 2018 - Volume 50 - Issue 1 - p 88–97
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001402
Applied Sciences

Introduction Circulating progenitor cells (CPC) are a heterogeneous population of stem/progenitor cells in peripheral blood that participate in tissue repair. CPC mobilization has been well characterized in able-bodied persons but has not been previously investigated in wheelchair racing athletes. The purpose of this study was to characterize CPC and CPC subpopulation mobilization in elite wheelchair racing athletes in response to acute, upper-extremity aerobic exercise to determine whether CPC responses are similar to ambulatory populations.

Methods Eight participants (three females; age = 27.5 ± 4.0 yr, supine height = 162.5 ± 18.6 cm, weight = 53.5 ± 10.9 kg, V˙O2peak = 2.4 ± 0.62 L·min−1, years postinjury = 21.5 ± 6.2 yr) completed a 25-km time trial on a road course. Blood sampling occurred before and immediately after exercise for quantification of CPC (CD34+), hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPC) (CD34+/CD45dim), hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) (CD34+/CD45dim/CD38), CD34+ adipose tissue (AT)–derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) (CD45/CD34+/CD105+/CD31), CD34 bone marrow (BM)–derived MSC (CD45/CD34/CD105+/CD31), and endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) (CD45dim/CD34+/VEGFR2+) via flow cytometry. Blood lactate was measured before and after trial as an indicator of exercise intensity.

Results CPC concentration increased 5.7-fold postexercise (P = 0.10). HSPC, HSC, EPC, and both MSC populations were not increased postexercise. Baseline HSPC populations were significantly positively correlated to absolute V˙O2peak (rho = 0.71, P < 0.05) with HSC trending to positively correlate to V˙O2peak (rho = 0.62, P = 0.10). AT-MSC populations were trending to be negatively correlated to baseline V˙O2peak (rho = −0.62, P = 0.058). The change in CPC, EPC, and AT-MSC pre- and postexercise significantly positively correlated to the change in lactate concentrations (rho = 0.91 P = 0.002, 0.71 P = 0.047, 0.81 P = 0.02, respectively, all P < 0.05).

Conclusion These data suggest that CPC content in wheelchair racing athletes is related to cardiorespiratory fitness, and responses to exercise are positively related to exercise intensity.

1Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Urbana, IL; 2Department of Health and Human Performance, Radford University, Radford, VA; 3U.S. Paralympics, Colorado Springs, CO; 4Department of Physical Therapy, University of Alabama–Birmingham, Birmingham, AL; 5Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, CANADA; and 6School of Human Kinetics, Brain and Mind Research Institute, and Centre for Neuromuscular Disease, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, CANADA

Address for correspondence: Michael De Lisio, Ph.D., 200 Lees Ave., E260E Ottawa, ON, Canada; E-mail: mdelisio@uottawa.ca.

Submitted for publication April 2017.

Accepted for publication August 2017.

© 2018 American College of Sports Medicine