Document Detail

Increased airway inflammatory cells in endurance athletes: what do they mean?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  12534544     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: Inflammatory cells are increased in the airways of endurance athletes, but their role in causing exercise-induced respiratory symptoms and bronchoconstriction, or their possible long-term consequences, are uncertain. AIM: To put the results of athlete studies in perspective, by analysing the pathogenesis of airway cell changes and their impact on respiratory function. RESULTS: Athletes of different endurance sports at rest showed increased airway neutrophils. Elite swimmers and skiers also showed large increases in airway eosinophils and lymphocytes, possibly related to chronic, exercise-related exposure to irritants or cold and dry air, respectively. Post-exercise studies reported variable responses of airway cells to exercise, but found no evidence of inflammatory cell activation in the airways, at variance with exercise-induced neutrophil activation in peripheral blood. The increase in airway inflammatory cells in athletes can result from hyperventilation-induced increase in airway osmolarity stimulating bronchial epithelial cells to release chemotactic factors. Hyperosmolarity may also inhibit activation of inflammatory cells by causing shedding of adhesion molecules, possibly explaining why airway inflammation appears 'frustrated' in athletes. Data on exhaled nitric oxide are few and variable, not allowing conclusions about its usefulness as a marker of airway inflammation in athletes, or its role in modulating bronchial responsiveness. CONCLUSIONS: The acute and long-term effects of exercise on airway cells need further study. Airway inflammatory cells are increased but not activated in athletes, both at rest and after exercise, and airway inflammation appears to regress in athletes quitting competitions. Altogether, these findings do not clearly indicate that habitual intense exercise may be detrimental for respiratory health. Rather, airway changes may represent chronic adaptive responses to exercise hyperventilation. An improved understanding of the effects of exercise on the airways will likely have a clinical impact on sports medicine, and on the current approach to exercise-based rehabilitation in respiratory disease.
M R Bonsignore; G Morici; A M Vignola; L Riccobono; A Bonanno; M Profita; P Abate; N Scichilone; G Amato; V Bellia; G Bonsignore
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Clinical and experimental allergy : journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology     Volume:  33     ISSN:  0954-7894     ISO Abbreviation:  Clin. Exp. Allergy     Publication Date:  2003 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2003-01-21     Completed Date:  2003-05-07     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8906443     Medline TA:  Clin Exp Allergy     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  14-21     Citation Subset:  IM    
Institute of Medicine and Pneumology, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy.
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MeSH Terms
Asthma, Exercise-Induced / immunology
Bronchial Hyperreactivity / immunology
Cell Adhesion Molecules / immunology
Eosinophils / cytology
Leukocyte Count
Leukocytes / immunology*
Lymphocytes / cytology
Neutrophils / cytology
Nitric Oxide / physiology
Osmolar Concentration
Physical Endurance / immunology*
Respiratory Mucosa / immunology*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Cell Adhesion Molecules; 10102-43-9/Nitric Oxide

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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