To examine effects of exercise in the heat and fluid intake on erythrocyte sickling and neutrophil activation in carriers of sickle cell trait (HbAS).
Six African American men (2 HbAS; 42% HbS, 4 HbAA; 20.7 +/- 0.8 years; 87.4 +/- 9.6 kg) participated in 2 randomized sessions (separate days) each consisting of 45 minutes of brisk walking (treadmill) in a hot (33 degrees C) environment.
Subjects consumed no fluids or fluid for 3 hours prior to (ad libitum) and during (1.02 L) testing.
Core temperature, heart rate, and perceived exertion were measured. Forearm venous blood was analyzed for percent erythrocyte sickling and plasma myeloperoxidase.
Time-averaged heart rate (126.6 +/- 5.7 vs. 146.7 +/- 5.9 bpm; P = 0.02) and core temperature (37.6 +/- 0.1 vs. 38.1 +/- 0.1 degrees C; P < 0.05) responses were lower during fluid versus no fluid, with no statistically significant difference in perceived exertion (12.3 +/- 0.5 vs. 13.6 +/- 0.4; P = 0.06). Erythrocyte sickling progressively increased (to 3.5%-5.5%) for HbAS carriers during no fluid exercise only. No sickling was detected in HbAA subjects. Plasma myeloperoxidase responses to exercise were greater (P = 0.03) in HbAS versus HbAA.
Fluid ingestion at a rate sufficient to offset a body weight deficit can effectively reduce erythrocyte sickling during exercise in the heat.