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Int J Sports Med. 2015 Jul;36(8):688-95. doi: 10.1055/s-0034-1398535. Epub 2015 May 5.

The Impact of a 24-h Ultra-Marathon on Circulatory Endotoxin and Cytokine Profile.

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Sport & Exercise Science Applied Research Group, Coventry University, Coventry, United Kingdom.
Faculty of Health & Life Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.
Nutrition and Dietetics, Monash University, Notting Hill, Australia.


The study aimed to determine circulatory endotoxin concentration, cytokine profile, and gastrointestinal symptoms of ultra-endurance runners (UER, n=17) in response to a 24-h continuous ultra-marathon competition (total distance range: 122-208 km) conducted in temperate ambient conditions (0-20 °C) in mountainous terrain. Body mass and body temperature were measured, and venous blood samples were taken before and immediately after competition. Samples were analysed for gram-negative bacterial endotoxin, C-reactive protein, cytokine profile, and plasma osmolality. Gastrointestinal symptoms were also monitored throughout competition. Mean exercise-induced body mass loss was (mean±SD) 1.7±1.8% in UER. Pre- and post-competition plasma osmolality in UER was 286±11 mOsmol·kg(-1) and 286±9 mOsmol·kg(-1), respectively. Pre- to post-competition increases (p<0.05) were observed for endotoxin (37%), C-reactive protein (2832%), IL-6 (3 436%), IL-1β (332%), TNF-α (35%), IL-10 (511%), and IL-8 (239%) concentrations in UER, with no change in the control group (CON; n=12) observed (p>0.05). Gastrointestinal symptoms were reported by 75% of UER, with no symptoms reported by CON. IL-10 (r=0.535) and IL-8 (r=0.503) were positively correlated with gastrointestinal symptoms. A 24-h continuous ultra-marathon competition in temperate ambient conditions resulted in a circulatory endotoxaemia and pro-inflammatory cytokinaemia, counteracted by a compensatory anti-inflammatory response.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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