Int J Sports Med 1989; 10(2): 124-128
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-1024887
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Complement and Immunoglobulin Levels in Athletes and Sedentary Controls

D. C. Nieman, S. A. Tan, J. W. Lee, L. S. Berk
  • Departments of Health Science, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, California, USA 92350
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Publication History

Publication Date:
14 March 2008 (online)


Eleven marathon runners (42.7±2.1 yrs, 54.2±1.8 ml·kg-1·min-1) and nine sedentary controls (44.2±1.2 yrs, 33.3±1.1 ml·kg-1·min-1) were studied during 30 min of rest, a graded maximal treadmill test using the Balke protocol, and 45 min of recovery to determine the effects of training and acute exercise on complement and immunoglobulin levels. Three baseline and five recovery blood samples were obtained in addition to repeated 5-min samples during exercise. Data for the exercise period were analyzed using a multiple regression approach to repeated measures ANOVA to allow comparison between groups on a percent V̇O2max basis. Groups did not differ during any of the three phases for IgG, IgA, or IgM. Resting levels of complement C3 (0.89±0.05 vs 1.27 ± 0.10 g/L, P < 0.001) and C4 (0.19 ± 0.02 vs 0.29±0.03 g/L, P < 0.001) were significantly lower in athletes than in controls. Exercise complement C3 [F(1,18) = 14.1, P = 0.001] and C4 [F(1,18) = 7.6, P = 0.013], and recovery complement [F(1,18) = 19.4, P < 0.001] and C4 [F(1,18) = 13.5, P = 0.002] were also lower in the athletes than in sedentary controls. Acute increases during exercise were not associated with changes in catecholamines or Cortisol. These data suggest that blood concentrations of C3 and C4, but not IgG, IgA, or IgM, are decreased during rest, graded maximal exercise, and recovery in marathon runners in comparison with sedentary controls.