Objective: To answer the question if the exercise-induced immune response contributes to the exercise-induced increase in Brain Natriuretic Peptide (BNP) in healthy athletes. This has previously been speculated as elevated concentrations of BNP or NT-proBNP in cardiovascular patients were found to be related to immune reactions and elevations in inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin 6 (IL-6).
Methods: We analysed stored serum samples on NT-proBNP concentrations of 14 healthy endurance athletes (age: 25 5years; VO2max: 67 6 ml•min-1•kg-1), who had been examined previously on exercise-induced immune reactions and its dependence on carbohydrate supplementation (6 or 12% CHOS; placebo) after three bouts of 4h cycling at a given workload of 70% of the individual anaerobic threshold. Venous blood samples were taken before, immediately, 1h and 1 day after exercise. Leukocyte-subpopulations were determined immediately after blood sampling by flow cytometry. Serum samples for posterior analysis of CRP, IL-6, cortisol and NT-proBNP (Elecsys®proBNP, Roche Diagnosics) were stored at -80°C.
Results: The exercise-induced increases in NT-proBNP (p<0.001) were not related to the exercise-induced immune response, although exercise induced significant (CHOS-dependent) increases in IL-6, CRP, cortisol, leukocytes, neutrophils, monocytes and natural-killer-cells.
Conclusion: It is unlikely that the exercise-induced increases in NT-proBNP or BNP in healthy athletes are caused by the exercise-induced immune response. Therefore, exercise-induced increases in NT-proBNP or BNP in healthy athletes have to be differentiated from increases in cardiovascular patients with systemic inflammation.
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