Seasonal changes in haematology, lymphocyte transferrin receptors and intracellular iron in Ironman triathletes and untrained men

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Broadbent, Suzanne (2010) Seasonal changes in haematology, lymphocyte transferrin receptors and intracellular iron in Ironman triathletes and untrained men. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 111 (1). pp. 93-100. ISSN 1439-6319


We investigated whether 12 months of chronic endurance training would affect haematology, CD4+ lymphocyte transferrin receptor (CD71) expression, CD4+ intracellular iron and the incidence of upper respiratory tract illnesses (URTI) in Ironman triathletes compared with untrained men. Resting venous blood samples were taken from 15 Ironman triathletes (TR 30 ± 5 year) and 12 untrained men (UT 30 ± 6 year) every 4 weeks for 12 months. Erythrocyte, leukocyte and platelet concentration, haematocrit, haemoglobin (Hb) and mean corpuscular haemoglobin (MCHC) were measured with a full blood count. CD4+ lymphocytes were analysed for changes in transferrin receptor (CD71) expression (CD4+CD71+), and intracellular iron (Fe3+), by flow cytometry. The TR group had significantly lower Hb, MCHC, and platelets for 10, 9 and 11 months, respectively; lower CD4+CD71+ (3 months) and Fe3+ (1 month), respectively; higher CD4+CD71+ (1 month); a higher lymphocyte count for 4 months. There were no between-group differences in other variables. In both groups haematology and lymphocytes increased during spring, early summer and winter and decreased during late summer/late winter, with an inverse relationship between CD4+CD71+ and Fe3+. The TR group reported significantly fewer URTI than the UT. Low Hb and MCHC suggest an iron deficiency which may affect triathlete performance. Monthly changes in lymphocytes, CD4+CD71+ and Fe3+ suggested that spring, summer and late autumn are associated with CD4+ proliferation. There may be seasonal relationships between haematology and lymphocyte function, independent of endurance training, possibly affecting performance but not the incidence of URTI.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1007/s00421-010-1635-z
Official URL
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1102 Cardiorespiratory Medicine and Haematology
Historical > FOR Classification > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science
Historical > SEO Classification > 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL)
Keywords ResPubID20282, ResPubID19922. seasonal variations, lymphocytes, transferrin receptors, haemoglobin, intracellular iron, haematology, lymphocyte transferrin receptors, Ironman triathletes, athletes, untrained men, males, endurance training
Citations in Scopus 21 - View on Scopus
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