Inflammation and Oral Contraceptive Use in Female Athletes Before the Rio Olympic Games

Larsen, Brianna and Cox, Amanda and Colbey, Candice and Drew, Michael and McGuire, Helen and Fazekas de St Groth, Barbara and Hughes, David and Vlahovich, Nicole and Waddington, Gordon and Burke, Louise and Lundy, Bronwen and West, Nicholas and Minahan, Clare (2020) Inflammation and Oral Contraceptive Use in Female Athletes Before the Rio Olympic Games. Frontiers in Physiology, 11:497. pp. 1-8.

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Abstract

This study investigated the association between synthetic ovarian hormone use [i.e., the oral contraceptive (OC) pill] and basal C-reactive protein (CRP), peripheral blood immune cell subsets, and circulating pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine concentrations in elite female athletes. Elite female athletes (n = 53) selected in Rio Summer Olympic squads participated in this study; 25 were taking an OC (AthletesOC) and 28 were naturally hormonally cycling (AthletesNC). Venous blood samples were collected at rest for the determination of sex hormones, cortisol, CRP, peripheral blood mononuclear memory and naïve CD4+ T-cells, CD8+ T-cells and natural killer cells, as well as pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine concentrations. C-reactive protein concentrations were elevated (p < 0.001) in AthletesOC (median = 2.02, IQR = 3.15) compared to AthletesNC (median = 0.57, IQR = 1.07). No differences were reported for cortisol, cytokines, or PBMC immune cell subsets, although there was a trend (p = 0.062) for higher IL-6 concentrations in AthletesNC. Female Olympians had substantially higher CRP concentrations, a marker of inflammation and tissue damage, before the Rio Olympic Games if they used an OC. Future research should examine the potential consequences for athlete performance/recovery so that, if necessary, practitioners can implement prevention programs.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Health and Wellbeing (1 Jan 2015 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Health and Wellbeing (1 Jan 2015 -)
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2020 02:37
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2020 02:58
Uncontrolled Keywords: C-reactive protein, cytokines, contraception, athletes, sex hormones
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1107 Immunology > 110799 Immunology not elsewhere classified
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science > 110604 Sports Medicine
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 92 Health > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920507 Women's Health
C Society > 92 Health > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920599 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2020.00497
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/39569

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