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Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2005 Jun;288(6):R1689-94. Epub 2005 Jan 13.

Blood-brain barrier integrity may be threatened by exercise in a warm environment.

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School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Loughborough University, Leicestershire LE11 3TU, UK.


Seven active men were recruited to examine changes in the serum concentration of S100beta, a proposed peripheral marker of blood-brain barrier permeability, following prolonged exercise in temperate (T) and warm (W) conditions. Subjects were seated immersed to the neck in water at 35.0 (0.1) degrees C (T) or 39.0 (0.1) degrees C (W) for 30 min. Subjects then entered a room maintained at either 18.3 (1.8) degrees C (T) or 35.0 (0.3) degrees C (W) and completed 60 min of cycle exercise at 60% peak oxygen uptake. Serum S100beta concentration was elevated after exercise in the W trial (+0.12 (0.10) microg/l; P = 0.02) but not after the T trial (P = 0.238). Water immersion and exercise elevated core temperature by 2.1 (0.5) degrees C to 39.5 (0.3) degrees C at the end of exercise in the W trial compared with a 0.9 (0.2) degrees C increase during the T trial (P < 0.001). Weighted mean skin temperature was higher throughout the W trial compared with the T trial (P < 0.001). Heart rate (P < 0.001) and blood glucose (P < 0.001) and lactate (P < 0.001) concentrations were elevated to a greater extent during exercise in the W trial than in the T trial. Ratings of perceived exertion (P < 0.001) and thermal comfort (P < 0.001) were markedly higher throughout the W trial than in the T trial. The results of this study demonstrate that serum S100beta was elevated after water immersion and prolonged exercise in a warm environment, suggesting that blood-brain barrier permeability may be altered.

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