Int J Sports Med 1998; 19(6): 425-431
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-971940

© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Intestinal lgA- and IgM-producing Cells are not Decreased in Marathon Runners

D. E. Nilssen1 , 2 , O. Öktedalen1 , I. Lygren3 , P. K. Opstad4 , P. Brandtzaeg1
  • 1Laboratory for Immunohistochemistry and Immunopathology (LIIPAT), Institute of Pathology, University of Oslo, Rikshospitalet, Oslo
  • 2Department of Infectious Diseases, University of Oslo, Ullevaal Hospital, Oslo
  • 3Department of Medicine, University of Oslo, Ullevaal Hospital, Oslo
  • 4Norwegian Defence Research Establishment, Kjeller, Norway
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
09 March 2007 (online)

Alterations in duodenal immunoglobulin (lg-)producing cells after excessive physical stress (marathon running) were studied by immunohistochemistry in 11 well-trained male adults, both shortly after running (race time, ~ 3.00 h) and later on after a „resting period” of 8-12 weeks with normal training (7 - 20 h/week). The ratios of IgA-,lgM- and lgC-producing cells were similar in the two biopsy specimens and virtually identical to those in eight normal duodenal controls (medians 77.6 % lgA, 18.6 % lgM, and 2.5 % lgC). However, in the first sample the total number of positive cells per intestinal length unit was increased in five for lgA and in seven for lgM, while it was decreased in eight for lgC compared with the second biopsy. Also, the lgA cell number tended to be slightly increased immediately after the race (median 128 cells/unit) compared with that in normal controls (median 111 cells/unit); the same tendency was found for all lg classes considered together. This apparent change was not explained by a thickening of the mucosa. Our study showed that marathon runners seem to maintain or even enhance their intestinal lgA and lgM-production, in contrast to the lgA decrease reported for other compartments such as salivary secretions and peripheral blood. The tendency to slightly increased intestinal lgA and lgM immunocyte populations in some runners might reflect a stress-induced hormonal influence on the homing of primed B cells to the mucosa, or perhaps an immune response to elevated influx of stimulatory luminal antigens.