Salivary IgA response to prolonged exercise in a cold environment in trained cyclists

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2002 Oct;34(10):1632-7. doi: 10.1097/00005768-200210000-00015.


Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to determine the effect of a prolonged bout of exercise in freezing cold conditions on saliva immunoglobulin A (s-IgA) responses in endurance-trained males.

Methods: Using a randomized cross-over design, 15 trained male cyclists cycled for 2 h on a stationary ergometer at 70% VO(2max) in an environmental chamber on one occasion at a temperature of -6.4 +/- 0.1 degrees C (cold) and on another occasion at a temperature of 19.8 +/- 0.2 degrees C (control). Trials began at 12:30 h to avoid the fall in s-IgA concentration that occurs during the morning hours. Unstimulated whole-saliva samples were collected over a 2-min period at preexercise, postexercise, and 2-h postexercise. The s-IgA concentration was determined using a sandwich-type ELISA method.

Results: Saliva flow rate decreased postexercise by 31%, returning to preexercise levels by the 2-h postexercise collection (main effect of time: < 0.01). The decrease in saliva flow rate postexercise in the control trial (39% compared with 22% on cold trial) approached significance (interaction: = 0.08) and may have accounted for the corresponding increase in s-IgA concentration postexercise in the control trial (s-IgA concentration: control preexercise; 91 +/- 12; postexercise; 110 +/- 13 mg x L(-1); < 0.05). Saliva IgA secretion rate decreased postexercise by 19.5% returning to preexercise levels by 2-h postexercise measure (main effect of time: < 0.05).

Conclusions: These data show that performing a bout of prolonged exercise results in a reduction in s-IgA secretion rate. Additionally, these data demonstrate that performing prolonged exercise in freezing cold conditions does not influence saliva flow rate or s-IgA secretion rate responses to prolonged exercise.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bicycling / physiology*
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Cold Temperature*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin A / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Saliva / chemistry
  • Saliva / metabolism*
  • Salivation / physiology
  • Time Factors


  • Immunoglobulin A