This study examined changes in toll-like receptor 4 (TLR-4)-expressing monocytes and lymphocyte subpopulations in response to continuous intensive exercise training in athletes, as well as the effect of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) supplementation on these changes. Eighteen male elite kendo athletes in Japan were randomly assigned to a CoQ10-supplementation group (n = 9) or a placebo-supplementation group (n = 9) using a double-blind method. Subjects in the CoQ10 group took 300 mg CoQ10 per day for 20 days. Subjects in the placebo group took the same dosage of placebo. All subjects practiced kendo 5.5 h per day for 6 consecutive days during the study period. Blood samples were collected 2 weeks before training, on the first day (day 1), third day (day 3), and fifth day of training (day 5), and 1 week after the training period (post-training) to ascertain TLR-4(+)/CD14(+) monocyte and lymphocyte subpopulations (CD3(+), CD4(+), CD8(+), CD28(+)/CD4(+), CD28(+)/CD8(+), and CD56(+)/CD3(-) cells) using flow cytometry analysis. The group × time interaction for TLR-4(+)/CD14(+) cells did not reach significance (p = 0.08). Within the CoQ10 group, the absolute number of TLR-4(+)/CD14(+) cells was significantly higher only at day 5. The placebo group showed a significant increase in the absolute number of TLR-4(+)/CD14(+) cells at day 3, day 5, and post-training (p < 0.05). There was no significant group × time interaction for any lymphocyte subpopulation. CD3(+), CD8(+), and CD56(+)/CD3(-) cells were significantly reduced at day 3 in both groups (p < 0.05). In conclusion, CoQ10 supplementation might downregulate the increase of TLR-4-expressing monocytes in response to continuous strenuous exercise training in kendo athletes.
Keywords: CD28; antioxidant; antioxydant; exercice physique; exercise; fonction immune; immune function; inflammation; lymphocyte; ubiquinone.