Objective: To evaluate the impact of high-intensity ultraendurance (HIU) cycling, using it as a possible way to understand muscle injury kinetics and blood immune cells’ release during high-intensity prolonged exercise
Design: Male amateur triathletes enrolled during a cycling race of the International Bike Championship 800 km cycling relay (∼23 h). Each athlete alternately cycled 20–25 minutes until exhaustion and performed a total of approximately 200 km.
Results: Creatine kinase levels in blood reached a 300% rise in a sigmoidal pattern, while lactate dehydrogenase levels increased by 30–40% following a hyperbolic pattern. Aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase levels increased by up to 250% and 140%, respectively. Liver injury markers such as alkaline phosphatase and γ-glutamyltransferase remained stable. Platelets increased by 20–30% from pre-exercise, and there was no change in haematocrit during the race. White blood cells rose by nearly 200%. Leucocytes rose 210% during the race, with a major component coming from neutrophils, which increased more than 300%. Triacylglycerol levels were decreased at the finish and total cholesterol levels remained unchanged. Urate increased (by up to 35%) during the first half of the race, and urea levels increased with a different pattern, increasing by 45% in the second half.
Conclusions: This study showed the blood appearance kinetics of muscle injury markers and some metabolites. It is suggested that the increase in these enzymes came primarily from muscle damage, rather than liver damage, and that white blood cells are selectively mobilised independently of haemoconcentration. The early appearance of muscle injury markers in this kind of exercise was also shown.
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Competing interests: None.