JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Airway hyperresponsiveness to methacholine, adenosine 5-monophosphate, mannitol, eucapnic voluntary hyperpnoea and field exercise challenge in elite cross-country skiers

Malcolm Sue-Chu, John D Brannan, Sandra D Anderson, Nora Chew, Leif Bjermer
British Journal of Sports Medicine 2010, 44 (11): 827-32
20460257

BACKGROUND: Methacholine hyperresponsiveness is prevalent in elite athletes. Comparative studies have hitherto been limited to methacholine, eucapnic voluntary hyperpnoea and exercise. This study investigated airway responsiveness to these stimuli as well as to adenosine 5'-monophosphate (AMP) and mannitol, in 58 cross-country ski athletes.

METHODS: Exhaled nitric oxide concentration (F(E)NO), spirometry and bronchial challenge in random order with methacholine, AMP and mannitol were consecutively performed on three study days in the autumn. Specific IgE to eight aeroallergens and a self-completed questionnaire about respiratory symptoms, allergy and asthmatic medication were also performed on day 1. Eucapnic voluntary hyperventilation (EVH) and field exercise tests were randomly performed in 33 of the skiers on two study days in the following winter.

RESULTS: Of 25 (43%) skiers with airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), 23, five and three skiers were hyperresponsive to methacholine, AMP and mannitol, respectively. Methacholine hyperresponsiveness was more prevalent in subjects without asthma-like symptoms. The F(E)NO was not significantly different in skiers with and without methacholine hyperresponsiveness. Four of 14 skiers with and four of 19 skiers without methacholine hyperresponsiveness were hyperresponsive to EVH or exercise challenge. AHR to any stimulus was present in 16 asymptomatic and nine symptomatic skiers. Asthma-like symptoms were not correlated with AHR to any stimulus.

CONCLUSIONS: Methacholine hyperresponsiveness is more common in asymptomatic skiers and is a poor predictor of hyperresponsiveness to mannitol and hyperpnoea. The low prevalence of hyperresponsiveness to indirect stimuli may suggest differences in the pathogenesis of methacholine hyperresponsiveness in elite skiers and non-athletes.

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