The aim of the present study was to establish whether gastro-intestinal (GI) complaints observed during and after ultra-endurance exercise are related to gut ischaemia-associated leakage of endotoxins [lipopolysaccharide (LPS)] into the circulation and associated cytokine production. Therefore we collected blood samples from 29 athletes before, immediately after, and 1, 2 and 16 h after a long-distance triathlon for measurement of LPS, tumour necrosis factor-α and interleukin-6 (IL-6). As the cytokine response would trigger an acute-phase response, characteristic variables of these responses were also measured, along with creatine kinase (CK) to obtain an indicator of muscle damage. There was a high incidence (93% of all participants) of GI symptoms; 45% reported severe complaints and 7% of the participants abandoned the race because of severe GI distress. Mild endotoxaemia (5–15 pg/ml) was evident in 68% of the athletes immediately after the race, as also indicated by a reduction in IgG anti-LPS levels. In addition, we observed production of IL-6 (27–fold increase immediately after the race), leading to an acute-phase response (20-fold increase in C-reactive protein and 12% decrease in pre-albumin 16 h after the race). The extent of endotoxaemia was not correlated with the GI complaints or the IL-6 response, but did show a correlation with the elevation in C-reactive protein (rs 0.389; P = 0.037). Creatine kinase levels were increased significantly immediately post-race, and increased further in the follow-up period. Creatine kinase levels did not correlate with those of either IL-6 or C-reactive protein. It is therefore concluded that LPS does enter the circulation after ultra-endurance exercise and may, together with muscle damage, be responsible for the increased cytokine response and hence GI complaints in these athletes.
Relationship between gastro-intestinal complaints and endotoxaemia, cytokine release and the acute-phase reaction during and after a long-distance triathlon in highly trained men
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A. E. JEUKENDRUP, K. VET-JOOP, A. STURK, J. H. J. C. STEGEN, J. SENDEN, W. H. M. SARIS, A. J. M. WAGENMAKERS; Relationship between gastro-intestinal complaints and endotoxaemia, cytokine release and the acute-phase reaction during and after a long-distance triathlon in highly trained men. Clin Sci (Lond) 1 January 2000; 98 (1): 47–55. doi: https://doi.org/10.1042/cs0980047
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