Effect of 4 weeks of basic military training on peripheral blood leucocytes and urinary excretion of catecholamines and cortisol
AuthorMakras, P.; Koukoulis, G. N.; Bourikas, G.; Papatheodorou, G.; Bedevis, K.; Menounos, P.; Pappas, D.; Kartalis, G.
In this study, we assessed the effects of a 4 week basic military physical training programme for male recruits of the Hellenic Air Force on the number and distribution of circulating immune cells and adrenergic and adrenocortical hormonal responses. One group of recruits (exercised, n = 48) participated in moderate intermittent physical exercise, whereas a second group (non-exercised controls, n = 9) performed only light work in the barracks. Both groups participated in the same non-physical, classroom-type training and testing. Military training by the exercised group resulted in significant increases in CD4(+) T-lymphocytes, renal cortisol excretion and the urinary noradrenaline/adrenaline ratio, together with reductions in neutrophils and the neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio. In the exercised group, the urinary noradrenaline/adrenaline ratio correlated positively with the training-induced changes in CD4(+) T-lymphocytes and negatively with changes in the neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio. No significant relationship was found between training-induced increases in cortisol excretion and any of the peripheral blood cell alterations. Our results indicate that 4 weeks of military training consisting of intermittent moderate exercise resulted in a significant increase in CD4(+) T-lymphocytes and reduction in neutrophils. These changes were probably driven by alterations in hormonal status, including the significant impact of sympathetic nervous system activation.