Exercise And Hypoxia

The effect of acute hypoxia on lymphocyte subpopulations resembles the effect of exercise [150], Thus, when subjects were placed in a decompression chamber (380 Torr) for 20 min with or without supplemental oxygen, the lymphocyte concentration increased during the exposure and declined below prevalues in the post-hypoxic period. All lymphocyte subpopulations were influenced by the hypoxia, but the NK cells were more sensitive to the stress induced by hypoxia [151]. Also, the NK cell function demonstrated the same pattern as with exercise. The NK cell activity did not decline following the 20 min of hypoxia, which is in accordance with the short term exercise induced recruitment of NK cells to the circulation, but not post-stress immune impairment. Meehan et al. [152] demonstrated that there was no change in NK cells after 4 weeks, indicating that the effect of hypoxia on NK cells is transient. Hypoxia induced a small increase in neutrophil number [151]. However, a marked increase in the chemilumines-cence response of neutrophils was found 2 h after hypoxia [151]. Thus, hypoxia and exercise induce the same effects on neutrophil number and function. When exercise is performed during hypoxic conditions, the exercise-induced effects on lymphocyte subpopulations are in general pronounced [153]. This was especially so regarding the combined effect of exercise and hypoxia on NK cells and NK cell function [153]. Interestingly, this effect was not abolished by blocking the nerve impulses from active muscles and was not mediated by beta-endorphins [153].

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