Effect of hydration status on high-intensity rowing performance and immune function

Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2008 Dec;3(4):531-46. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.3.4.531.


Purpose: This study determined the effect of dehydration and rehydration (DR) on performance, immune cell response, and tympanic temperature after high-intensity rowing exercise.

Methods: Seven oarswomen completed two simulated 2000-m rowing race trials separated by 72 h in a random, cross-over design. One trial was completed in a euhydrated (E) condition and the other using a DR protocol.

Results: The DR condition resulted in a 3.33+/-0.14% reduction in body mass (P<.05) over a 24-h period followed by a 2-h rehydration period immediately before the simulated rowing race. There was a greater change in tympanic temperature observed in the DR trial (P<.05). There were increases in the blood concentration of leukocytes, lymphocytes, lymphocyte subsets (CD3+, CD3+/4+, CD3+/8+, CD3-/16+, CD4+/25+; P<.05) and decreases in lymphocyte proliferation and neutrophil oxidative burst activity immediately following the simulated race (P<.05) in both trials. Blood leukocyte and neutrophil concentrations were greater after exercise in the DR trial (P<.05). Whereas most immune measures returned to resting values after 60 min of recovery in both trials, lymphocyte proliferation and the concentrations of CD3+/4+ and CD4+/25+ cells were significantly lower than before exercise. Blood leukocyte and neutrophil concentrations were significantly higher before and after exercise in the E trial.

Conclusion: The effects of dehydration/rehydration did not negatively influence simulated 2000-m rowing race performance in lightweight oarswomen but did produce a higher tympanic temperature and had a differential effect on blood leukocyte, neutrophil, and natural killer (CD3-/16+) cell concentrations after exercise compared with the euhydrated state.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Dehydration / physiopathology*
  • Exercise Tolerance*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immune System*
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Lymphocytes
  • Neutrophils*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Ships*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • T-Lymphocytes*
  • Task Performance and Analysis