Change in salivary IgA following a competitive marathon race

D C Nieman, D A Henson, O R Fagoaga, A C Utter, D M Vinci, J M Davis, S L Nehlsen-Cannarella
International Journal of Sports Medicine 2002, 23 (1): 69-75
The influence of carbohydrate (1 l/h of a 6 % carbohydrate beverage), gender, and age on salivary IgA (sIgA) changes and incidence of upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) was studied in 98 runners following two competitive marathon races. The pattern of change in sIgA concentration differed significantly between carbohydrate (C) (N = 48) and placebo (P) (N = 50) groups, with higher post-race values measured in P. However, when this was adjusted for saliva protein concentration and saliva secretion rate, no difference between groups was measured. For all subjects combined, sIgA concentration, saliva IgA: protein ratio (spIgA), and sIgA secretion rates fell significantly (21 %, 31 %, and 25 %, respectively) below pre-race levels by 1,5-h post-race (p < 0.001). The pattern of change in all saliva measures did not differ significantly between the 12 women and 86 men in this study, and between the 23 older (> or =50 yr) and 75 younger (< 50 yr) subjects. Ninety-three subjects returned health/sickness logs, and of these, 16 (17 %) reported developing URTI during the 15-d period following the race event. The 1.5-h post-race spIgA concentration, but not sIgA concentration or secretion rate, was lower in runners reporting URTI compared to those who did not (254 +/- 30 and 388 +/- 26 microg*g(-1), respectively, p = 0.002), and this was negatively correlated with the post-race plasma cortisol concentration (r = -0.36, p < 0.001). Of the 16 runners, six were in the C group and 10 in the P group (Chi square = 1.11, p = 0.293). In conclusion, the output of sIgA decreased in runners following a competitive marathon, and this was not influenced by carbohydrate ingestion, age, or gender.

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