Habitual Physical Activity and Endothelial Activation in Sickle Cell Trait Carriers

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It remains unclear whether habitual physical activity in sickle cell trait (SCT) carriers modulates the levels of resting and postexercise vascular adhesion and inflammatory molecules.


Plasma levels of pro-inflammatory (interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5, IL-8, sCD40L, and tumor necrosis factor α) and anti-inflammatory (IL-10) cytokines and adhesion molecules (soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1), soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1), sP-selectin, or sE-selectin) were assessed at rest and in response to an incremental exercise to exhaustion in untrained (UT: no regular physical activity) and trained (T: soccer players, 8 h·wk−1 minimum) SCT and control (CON) subjects (n = 8 per group; age = 23.5 ± 0.35 yr).


sVCAM-1 levels were significantly higher in the UT-SCT group than that in T-SCT group (+43.5%) at rest, at the end, and at 1, 2, and 24 h after the end of the exercise. For the other molecules, no differences emerged among the groups at rest, but in response to exercise plasma, sICAM-1, sVCAM-1, sE-selectin, and sCD40L increased in all groups, and sP-selectin only increased in the UT group. All values that increased with the acute exercise returned to their respective baseline levels 1 h after the end of the exercise.


A physically active lifestyle in SCT carriers may decrease endothelial activation and may limit the risk for vascular adhesion events in the microcirculation of SCT subjects.

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