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Intensive Care Med. 1994 Nov;20(8):602-10.

Are similar inflammatory factors involved in strenuous exercise and sepsis?

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Laboratory of Human Applied Physiology, Université de Liège, Sart Tilman, Belgium.


An increasing body of data suggest that strenuous exercise triggers an inflammatory response having some similarity with those occurring in sepsis. Indices of this inflammatory response to exercise (IRE) especially include leukocytosis, release of inflammatory mediators and acute phase reactants, tissue damage, priming of various white blood cell lines, production of free radicals; activation of complement, coagulation and fibrinolytic cascades. Inflammatory responses to strenuous exercise and sepsis could in part be due to the release of endotoxin in blood as common triggering factor, but it seems that tissue damage and/or contact system activation are more important triggering mechanisms in exercising subjects. While the magnitude and duration of cellular and humoral changes associated with IRE are quite different from those observed in sepsis, recent human studies suggested that chronic and/or excessive IRE could have adverse effects. Among the possible consequences of acute and chronic IRE are delayed onset muscular soreness and loss of force, cardiovascular complications, intravascular hemolysis, hypoferraemia and increased susceptibility to infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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