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Blegen, M1; Cheatham, C C.1; Caine-Bish, N1; Woolverton, C1; Marcinkiewicz, J1; Glickman, E FACSM1

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2003 - Volume 35 - Issue 5 - p S380
H-13N Free Communication/Poster Immunology

1Kent State University, Kent, OH

(Sponsor: Ellen Glickman, FACSM)

With the advent of commercially available hypoxic chambers, athletes have begun to utilize this modality for training purposes. It is thought that by simulating a high altitude environment, there will be greater improvements in the individuals' aerobic capacity. However, due to the physiologic stress involved in periods of vigorous and exhaustive exercise, especially in a hypoxic environment, this may lead to an increased number of infectious episodes and immunosuppression.

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of hypoxia on the immunological responses during and after prolonged, moderate and high intensity exercise.

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Nine (n = 9) male subjects participated in the study. Participants underwent two maximal aerobic capacity tests (VO2 max) prior to the initiation of the experimental trials, one VO2 max test under normoxic conditions, the other VO2 max under mildly hypoxic conditions (Inspired oxygen concentration = 14.65%). Participants exercised for 60 minutes under four different experimental conditions (order randomly assigned and trials separated by at least seven days): 1) 40% normoxic VO2 max in a normoxic environment, 2) 40% hypoxic VO2 max in a hypoxic environment, 3) 60% normoxic VO2 max in a normoxic environment, and 4) 60% hypoxic VO2 max in a hypoxic environment. Blood was drawn prior to testing after a resting period of 30 minutes, and again immediately post-exercise, 15 minutes post-exercise, 2 hours post-exercise, and 24 hours post-exercise.

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There were no significant differences between normoxic and hypoxic environments or intensities for TNF or IL-1.

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It is concluded that exercise of both moderate and high intensities in both normoxic and mildly hypoxic environments elicits similar responses in the immune system cytokines IL-1 and TNF.

©2003The American College of Sports Medicine