Exercise-associated collapse in cyclists is unrelated to endotoxemia

G. E. Moore, M. E B Holbein, J. P. Knochel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Endotoxemia occurs when intestinal ischemia allows bacterial lipopolysaccharide to translocate from colonie flora into the bloodstream, which triggers release of cytokines that can cause hypotension, rigors, fever, shock, and even death. Recently, blood endotoxin levels were shown to be higher in athletes needing medical attention (330 pg · ml−1) than in their competitors with similar performances (81 pg · ml−1). Though there were no data showing that these athletes had elevated core temperatures or severe illness, speculation followed that endotoxin may play a causal role in heat stroke. We examined the relationship between endotoxemia and mild post-exertional illness in 39 cyclists after a 100-mile ride. Thirteen cyclists had at least one of the following: orthostatic hypotension, rigors, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or syncope. Only 2/26 case-controls had any of these symptoms. Data were collected on vital signs, hemoglobin, sodium, creatine kinase, creatinine, and uric acid. Endotoxin titer was determined by chromogenic assay; tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) titer was determined by ELISA. One ill cyclist had an endotoxin level of 330 pg·ml−1, one control had an endoloxin level of 150 pg·ml−1, but endotoxin level was ⩽ 64 pg · ml−1in all others. Comparison of pre- and post-ride data showed that controls increased creatine kinase activity (154 ± 34 vs 561 ± 191 IU · dl, P < 0.05), creatinine concentration (1.5 ± 0.0 vs 1.6 ± 0.0 mg · dp−1, P < 0.05), and uric acid concentration (5.4 ± 0.3 vs 6.3 ± 0.3 mg · dl−1, P < 0.05). Ill cyclists had lower serum sodium than post-ride controls (138 ± 2 vs 142 ± 0.6 mEq · I−1, P < 0.05), but there were no differences between groups in CK, creatinine, or uric acid. These findings suggest that endotoxemia may complicate, but docs not cause mild post-exertional illness in cyclists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1238-1242
Number of pages5
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'Exercise-associated collapse in cyclists is unrelated to endotoxemia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this