Objective: Athletes undergoing weight reduction are recognised as being more prone to infection. Few studies exist for athletes on the weight reduction-mediated changes in neutrophil function and related activities such as reactive oxygen species (ROS) production capability, phagocytic activity (PA) and serum opsonic activity (SOA).
Methods: 16 Japanese female university judoists were examined in the early morning of the first day (pre-values) and the last day (post-values) of a 20-day pre-competition training period. Of the 16 subjects, 8 needed to reduce weight (WR group) and the other 8 did not (control group). The parameters assessed were the neutrophil count, serum immunoglobulins and complements, myogenic enzymes, ROS production capability, PA and SOA.
Results: Comparing the post-values with the pre-values, ROS production significantly increased in both groups (p<0.01 for both). PA significantly decreased in the WR group (p<0.05); it also decreased in the control group but the decrease was not significant. SOA significantly increased in the control group (p<0.05), but showed no significant change in the WR group.
Conclusions: The changes in the WR group were probably a direct consequence of the weight-reduction regimen coupled with the exercise regimen, suggesting that neutrophil parameters (ROS production, PA and SOA) had tended to deviate from their typical compensatory changes to maintain immune system homoeostasis.
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Published Online First 15 January 2007
Competing interests: None declared.
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