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Metabolic and renal changes in two athletes during a world 24 hour relay record performance.
  1. R A Irving,
  2. T D Noakes,
  3. R van Zyl Smit
  1. Department of Physiology, University of Cape Town Medical School, South Africa.


    Metabolic parameters and renal function were studied in two subjects before, during and after they established a world two-man 24 hour relay record. During the race, the athletes expended an estimated 37.747 and 42.880 kJ running at 54 and 61 per cent of maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max). Rectal temperatures reached maxima of 38.6 and 39.2 degrees C respectively during the race. Serum free fatty acid levels peaked at 2108 and 1875 mumol ml-1 after 24 hours; blood glucose levels varied from 4.3-6.5 and 4.9-8.5 mmol.l-1 respectively. Plasma insulin levels fell from 42.9 and 22.7 to 11.5 Plasma urea, creatinine, beta 2-microglobulin and C-reactive protein concentrations were elevated at the end of the race (to 9.0 and 8.0 mmol.l-1, 119 and 102 mumol.l-1, 3.508 and 3203 micrograms.l-1 and 2.7 and 3.9 mg per cent respectively). Plasma osmolality was altered from 293 and 304 to 302 and 280 mosmol.Kg-1 during the race but increased to 312 and 318 mosmol.Kg-1 the following day probably due to intercompartmental fluid shifts. Plasma creatinine concentration was increased by 38 and 26 per cent due to reduced urinary excretion. Urine flow rate increased 40 and 123 per cent respectively during the race, but creatinine clearance decreased by 38 and 40 per cent. Urine osmolality decreased by 38 and 65 per cent and osmolal clearance decreased by 15 and 16 per cent respectively. Urine sodium excretion was greatly reduced (85 and 90 per cent) on the post-race days (by 88 and 92 per cent on day 2). Both urine total protein and beta2-microglobulin excretion increased during the race (by 89 and 35 per cent and by 334 and 136 per cent respectively), but owing to the increased beta2-microglobulin production renal clearance was unaltered. The changes in renal function were temporary and some aspects of renal tubular function were enhanced during the post-race days. We conclude that, although C-reactive protein concentrations increased sooner and were higher than other shorter events and although creatinine, urine excretion and urine osmolality decreased markedly, the intermittent nature of the event, the mild environmental conditions, the moderate percentage of VO2 max maintained by the well conditioned subjects and a high fluid intake enabled a rapid return to normality and indeed to enhanced renal tubular function. The only moderate increases in body temperature would be due to the same factors.

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