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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2007 Jan;102(1):169-73. Epub 2006 Aug 10.

Effects of progressive and maximal exercise on plasma levels of adhesion molecules in athletes with sickle cell trait with or without alpha-thalassemia.

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  • 1Equipe d'Accueil 647 Center of Research and Innovation on Sports, University of Lyon 1, Lyon, France.


The aim of the study was to examine the effects of exercise on soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1) and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1) in sickle cell trait (SCT) athletes with or without alpha-thalassemia. Six athletes with SCT, seven athletes with both SCT and alpha-thalassemia (SCTAT), and seven control athletes (Cont) performed an incremental and maximal test on cycloergometer. Levels of sICAM-1 and sVCAM-1 were assessed at rest, immediately after the end of exercise, and 1, 2, and 24 h after exercise. Although Cont and SCTAT groups exhibited similar basal plasma levels of inflammatory and adhesion molecules, the SCT group had higher sVCAM-1 basal concentrations. Incremental exercise resulted in a significant increase of sVCAM-1 in all subjects, which remained elevated only in the SCT group during the recovery period. In conclusion, as sVCAM-1 increased with exercise and during the recovery period, our findings support the concept that SCT athletes might be at risk for microcirculatory disturbances and adhesive phenomena developing at rest and several hours after exercise. alpha-Thalassemia might be considered protective among exercising SCT subjects.

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