Increase in plasma calprotectin during long-distance running

Scand J Clin Lab Invest. 2005;65(3):211-20. doi: 10.1080/00365510510013587.


Running leads to biochemical and hematological changes consistent with an inflammatory reaction to tissue injury. We report changes in the plasma concentration of the leukocyte-derived protein calprotectin after long-distance running. Blood samples were collected from runners before and after a marathon, half-marathon, a 30-km cross-country run, a military ranger-training course and short-term maximal physical exercise until exhaustion, VO2max. Leukocyte counts, plasma calprotectin concentration and calprotectin per neutrophilic granulocyte were assayed using a new method. During the marathon, half-marathon, the 30-km run, the ranger-training course and the VO2max exercise, calprotectin levels increased 96.3-fold, 13.3-fold, 20.1-fold, 7.5-fold and 3.4-fold, respectively. These changes may reflect damage to the tissues or vascular endothelium, causing microthrombi with subsequent activation of neutrophils. These cells are known to phagocytose platelets in microthrombi and may contribute to the prevention of clinical thrombosis. The half-life of calprotectin in plasma was about 5 h. The content of calprotectin per neutrophil remained unchanged during exercise at a level similar to that in healthy blood donors: mean: 25 pg/cell, range 18.8-33.6. A reference interval (mean +/- 2 SD) of 18.6-31.4 pg/cell is suggested.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex / blood*
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neutrophils / cytology
  • Neutrophils / metabolism
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Running / physiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex