Volume 49 Number 6, 2012
Pages 925 — 934
Abstract — This study examined the effect of a 1 h, self-paced handcycling time trial on blood leukocytes, mucosal immunity, and markers of stress in paraplegic athletes. Nine male paraplegic athletes (spinal injury level thoracic 4–lumbar 2) performed 1 h of handcycling exercise on a standard 400 m athletics track. Heart rate (HR) was measured continuously during exercise, and a retrospective rating of perceived exertion (RPE) was obtained immediately after. Venous blood and saliva samples were collected immediately before exercise (Pre-Ex), after exercise (End-Ex), and 1 h postexercise (1-h Post). The athletes completed mean +/– standard error of mean 22.4 +/– 1.1 km cycling at HR 165 +/– 2 beats/min, RPE 15 +/– 1, and blood lactate 7.9 +/– 2.5 mmol/L. Total leukocytes increased 72% and neutrophils increased 74% End-Ex; both remained elevated at 1-h Post (both p < 0.05). Lymphocytes increased 53% and natural killer cells increased 175% End-Ex (both p < 0.05), but returned to near baseline levels 1-h Post. Increases (p < 0.05) were observed End-Ex in alpha-amylase activity (p < 0.05), which returned to baseline at 1-h Post, but there was no significant change in saliva flow rate, salivary immunoglobulin A, or cortisol. These data confirm that 1 h of handcycling exercise elevated circulating leukocytes but had a minimal effect on mucosal immunity. These changes appear to be associated with alpha-amylase rather than cortisol.
Key words: exercise, handcycling, immunoendocrine response, leukocytes, natural killer cells, neutrophils, salivary immunoglobulin A, spinal cord injury, stress, time trial.
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Last Reviewed or Updated Thursday, August 16, 2012 11:30 AM