Author(s): Gabriel HH, Urhausen A, Valet G, Heidelbach U, Kindermann W
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Abstract A prospective longitudinal study investigated for 19 +/- 3) months whether immunophenotypes of peripheral leukocytes were altered in periods of severe training. Leukocyte membrane antigens (CD3, CD4, CD8, CD14, CD16, CD19, CD45, CD45RO, and CD56) of endurance athletes were immunophenotyped (dual-color flow cytometry) and list mode data analyzed by a self-learning classification system in a state of an overtraining syndrome (OT; N = 15) and several occasions without symptoms of staleness (NS; N = 70). Neither at physical rest nor after a short-term highly intensive cycle ergometer exercise session at 110\% of the individual anaerobic threshold did cell counts of neutrophils, T, B, and natural killer cells differ between OT and NS. Eosinophils were lower during OT, activated T cells (CD3+HLA/DR+) showed slight increases (NS: 5.5 +/- 2.7; OT 7.3 +/- 2.4\% CD3+ of cells; means +/- SD; P < 0.01) during OT without reaching pathological ranges. The cell-surface expression of CD45RO (P < 0.001) on T cells, but not cell concentrations of CD45RO+ T cells, were higher during OT. OT could be classified with high specificities (92\%) and sensitivities (93\%). It is concluded that OT does not lead to clinically relevant alterations of immunophenotypes in peripheral blood and especially that an immunosuppressive effect cannot be detected. Immunophenotyping may provide help with the diagnosis of OT in future, but the diagnostic approach presented here requires improvements before use in sports medicine practice is enabled.
This article was published in Med Sci Sports Exerc
and referenced in Journal of Sports Medicine & Doping Studies