Lim CL, Byrne C, Chew SAN, Mackinnon LT. Leukocyte subset responses during exercise under heat stress with carbohydrate or water intake. Aviat Space Environ Med 2005; 76:726–32. Purpose:This study investigated leukocyte subset responses to moderate-intensity exercise under heat stress, with water (W) or carbohydrate (CHO) drink ingestion. Methods: In repeated trials, 13 soldiers consumed either a W or CHO drink during 3 h of walking at 4.4 km · h−1 with a 5% gradient (15 min rest per hour) under heat stress (35°C and 55% relative humidity). The soldiers wore combat uniforms and carried water bottles and dummy rifles and ammunition, altogether weighing about 11.5 ± 1.0 kg. Results: Plasma glucose concentration was significantly higher with CHO than W ingestion during exercise (p < 0.01). There were no significant differences between W and CHO conditions in exercise performance, plasma cortisol concentration, heart rate, or core temperature. CHO ingestion significantly moderated the increases in leukocyte (83% in W, 28% in CHO; p < 0.001), monocyte (60% in W, 34% in CHO; p < 0.05), and granulocyte counts (120% in W, 30% in CHO; p < 0.001), but not in lymphocyte count (41% in W, 25% in CHO). Conclusions: The increases in leukocyte and subset counts during moderate-intensity exercise under heat stress may be comparable to those observed during intense exercise in cool conditions. The response of immune cell counts is blunted by CHO intake during moderate-intensity exercise in the heat, and may not occur through the cortisol pathway.
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