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Nitric Oxide. 2006 Aug;15(1):5-12. Epub 2005 Dec 22.

Blood cell NO synthesis in response to exercise.

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  • 1Laboratori de Ciències de l'Activitat Física, Departament de Biologia Fonamental i Ciències de la Salut, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Crtra. Valldemossa Km 7.5. E-07122-Palma de Mallorca, Illes Balears, Spain.


Nitric oxide (NO) is important for the maintenance of cardiovascular homeostasis and is also involved in immunity and inflammation. The aim of our work was to determine the effects of intense exercise on plasma and blood cell NO handling. Nine voluntary male professional cyclists participated in the study. Blood samples were taken in basal conditions and 3h after finishing a mountain cycling stage. Exercise-induced neutrophilia, lymphopenia, and hemolysis. Plasma and erythrocytes maintained basal nitrite levels, whereas neutrophils and lymphocytes decreased nitrite concentration after intense exercise. Basal iNOS levels and SOD activity were similar in neutrophils and lymphocytes. iNOS levels and SOD activity dropped in neutrophils and rose in lymphocytes after exercise. Arginase activity rose only in lymphocytes. Neutrophil nitrite was correlated with SOD activity and iNOS levels, but not in lymphocytes. iNOS levels were correlated with SOD in both neutrophils and lymphocytes. Intense exercise maintained plasma basal arginine and ornithine concentration, and decreased citrulline concentration. Intense exercise induced important changes in NO handling in neutrophils and lymphocytes, yet the basal picture was maintained in erythrocytes.

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