Article Text

Download PDFPDF

390 Can a heat-and-moisture exchanger attenuate inflammatory responses to exercise in sub-zero conditions?
  1. Helen G Hanstock1,
  2. Alasdair S Tutt1,
  3. Hampus Persson2,
  4. Erik P Andersson1,
  5. Mats Ainegren3,
  6. Nikolai Stenfors2
  1. 1Swedish Winter Sports Research Centre, Department of Health Sciences, Mid Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden
  2. 2Unit of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
  3. 3Sports Tech Research Centre, Department of Quality Management and Mechanical Engineering, Mid Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden


Background Heavy endurance training in sub-zero environments increases risk of exercise-induced asthma. Heat-and-moisture exchangers (HME) can prevent exercise-induced bronchoconstriction but it is not known whether they protect against inflammatory responses to exercise in healthy individuals.

Objective To investigate whether use of an HME during exercise in a sub-zero environment affects post-exercise inflammatory responses.

Design Investigator-blind randomised crossover trial.

Setting Environmental chamber at -15°C.

Participants 23 healthy, trained participants aged 18–53 (15 male, 8 female, VO2peak 57±6 and 50±4 mL/kg/min; mean±SD).

Interventions Two experimental trials with and without HME, consisting of 30-min moderate-intensity running followed by a 4-min maximal running time-trial. Plasma samples were obtained pre- and 1h-post-exercise and analysed for a panel of 10 cytokines using a multiplex immunoassay.

Main Outcome Measurements Plasma cytokine concentrations (GM-CSF, IL-1β, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-13, IL-17E/25, TNF-α). Data were log-transformed then analysed using two-way repeated-measures ANOVA; one participant was an extreme outlier and excluded.

Results Five cytokines (GM-CSF, IL-1β, IL-4, IL-13, IL-17E/25) returned <20% concentrations within detection limits and were excluded from further analysis. The other cytokines returned >85% samples in range. IL-6, IL-8 and IL-10 increased after exercise (IL-6: F=36, p<0.0001; IL-8: F=39, p<0.0001; IL-10: F(1,21)=8.9, p=0.0072). There was a trend towards a greater post-exercise increase in IL-10 with HME (HME: median 0.062 (range -0.203–1.053) pg/mL; no-HME: 0.047 (-0.079–0.50) pg/mL; F=3.0, p=0.096). There were no significant interactions for other cytokines.

Conclusions Use of an HME during exercise in a sub-zero environment did not affect systemic pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine responses to exercise. Local inflammatory markers in the lungs may be relevant to investigate in future studies.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.