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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 1998 September;38(3):258-61

Copyright © 1999 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

The impact of soccer training on the immune system

Rebelo A. N. 1, Candeias J. R. 2, Fraga M. M. 2, Duarte J. A. R. 1, Soares J. M. C. 1, Magalhaes C. 2, Torrinha J. A. 2

1 Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Porto, Portugal; 2 Immunology Department, S. João Hospital, Porto, Portugal


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Objective. The aim of ­this study was to eval­u­ate wheth­er the lev­el of ­some ­immune mark­ers ­changed in soc­cer ­players dur­ing pre-sea­son and dur­ing play­ing-sea­son.
Design. An obser­va­tion­al ­study for one soc­cer sea­son (one ­year).
Setting. Professional soc­cer ­players.
Participants. Thirteen pro­fes­sion­al soc­cer ­players (age: 26.3±3.7 ­years).
Measures. The ­effect of 11 ­months of soc­cer train­ing ses­sions and match­es on cir­cu­lat­ing leu­ko­cyte and lym­pho­cyte sub­pop­u­la­tions was inves­ti­gat­ed. Blood sam­ples ­were tak­en ­before the sea­son and ­also 6 ­weeks, 6 ­months and 11 ­months lat­er. All sam­ples ­were tak­en at 08:00h.
Results. Total lym­pho­cyte ­counts did not ­change in all sam­ples. During the pre-­sea­son, how­ev­er, the con­cen­tra­tions of ­some inflam­ma­to­ry lym­pho­cyte sub­pop­u­la­tions ­were ­changed: CD4CD45RA+ was ele­vat­ed and CD57 and CD8CD57 ­showed a sig­nif­i­cant ­decrease (p<0.05), At the end of the com­pet­i­tive peri­od, CD4 and CD8 ­were ­increased. At the end of the sea­son ­there ­were sig­nif­i­cant chang­es in ­some immune ­cells: ­total leu­ko­cyte and neu­troph­il num­ber and CD8+ ­cell con­cen­tra­tion was ­increased com­pared to pre-sea­son val­ues and the CD4/CD8 ­ratio was ­decreased.
Conclusions. The ­results sug­gest ­that ­athletes ­exposed to a ­long-­term train­ing peri­ods can exhib­it vari­a­tions in ­some ­immune ­cells. The clin­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance of ­these vari­a­tions ­requires ­more ­detailed inves­ti­ga­tion.

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