The extreme thinness of the pulmonary blood-gas barrier results in high mechanical stresses in the capillary wall when the capillary pressure rises during exercise. We have previously shown that, in elite cyclists, 6-8 min of maximal exercise increase blood-gas barrier permeability and result in higher concentrations of red blood cells, total protein, and leukotriene B4 in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid compared with results in sedentary controls. To test the hypothesis that stress failure of the barrier only occurs at the highest level of exercise, we performed BAL in six healthy athletes after i h of exercise at 77% of maximal O2 consumption. Controls were eight normal nonathletes who did not exercise before BAL. In contrast with our previous study, we did not find higher concentrations of red blood cells, total protein, and leukotriene B4 in the exercising athletes compared with control subjects. However, higher concentrations of surfactant apoprotein A and a higher surfactant apoprotein A-to-phospholipid ratio were observed in the athletes performing prolonged exercise, compared with both the controls and the athletes from our previous study. These results suggest that, in elite athletes, the integrity of the blood-gas barrier is altered only at extreme levels of exercise.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physiology (medical)
- Bronchoalveolar lavage
- Capillary stress failure
- Exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage
- Leukotriene B