Capacity of circulating neutrophils to produce reactive oxygen species after exhaustive exercise

Katsuhiko Suzuki*, Hideki Sato, Takashi Kikuchi, Tatsuya Abe, Shigeyuki Nakaji, Kazuo Sugawara, Manabu Totsuka, Koki Sato, Kanemitsu Yamaya

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

161 Citations (Scopus)


To investigate the cause of disagreement within the large body of literature concerning the effect of exercise on the capacity of circulating neutrophils to produce reactive oxygen species (ROS), 10 male endurance- trained athletes underwent maximal exercise. The generation of superoxide radical (O2/-·) by neutrophils was first detected on a cell-by-cell basis by using histochemical nitro blue tetrazolium tests performed directly on fresh unseparated blood, which showed that responsive neutrophils under several stimulatory conditions relatively decreased after exercise. Similarly, O2/-· detected with bis-N-methylacridinium nitrate (lucigenin)- dependent chemiluminescence (CL) of a fixed number of purified neutrophils on stimulation with opsonized zymosan was decreased slightly after exercise. In contrast, the 5-amino-2,3-dihydro-1,4-phthalazinedione (luminol)dependent CL response of the neutrophils indicative of the myeloperoxidase (MPO)-mediated formation of highly reactive oxidants was significantly enhanced after exercise. It therefore suggests that the pathway of neutrophil ROS metabolism might be forwarded from the precursor O2/-· production to the stages of more reactive oxidant formation due to the facilitation of MPO degranulation. In addition, these phenomena were closely associated with the exercise- induced mobilization of neutrophils from the marginated pool into the circulation, which was mediated by the overshooting of catecholamines during exercise. These findings indicate that the use of different techniques for detecting ROS or the different stages of neutrophil ROS metabolism could explain some of the disparate findings of the previous studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1213-1222
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1996 Sept
Externally publishedYes


  • chemiluminescence
  • free radicals
  • nitro blue tetrazolium test
  • phagocytosis
  • stress hormones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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