Did You Know? Hard Exercise Can Suppress Your Immune System

I have blogged in the past about how Agilent equipment is used by drug-testing labs for major sporting events, including the World Cup, the Tour de France, and of course the big games currently underway.

Agilent also plays a role in sports research involving athletes and athletics.

Doctors know that high-intensity training or exercise can result in a temporary suppression of the immune system.  This increases an athlete’s susceptibility to upper respiratory tract infections (URTI).  In fact, the highest relative incidence of URTI occurs in elite athletes at both the Winter and Summer Games, as well as the World Championships.

Researchers in Poland wanted to understand the immunological mechanisms behind this phenomenon.  Using Agilent SurePrint Human Gene Expression Microarrays and an Agilent SureScan Scanner, they assessed blood samples from a group of athletes in kayaking.

The Agilent microarrays provided comprehensive coverage of the entire human genome, enabling the researchers to detect biological features with both very high and very low expression.

The researchers discovered that athletes with high concentrations of interleukin 5 also had low expressions of secretoglobin 1C1.  Interleukins are proteins in white blood cells that have been linked to immune deficiencies.  Secretoglobin 1C1 is a gene involved in protection against the common cold.

These results suggest that gene expression of Secretoglobin in blood may be a marker for an athlete’s susceptibility to upper respiratory tract infections.

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