Changes in Immunological Indices in Characteristics of Powerlifters and Their Optimization at the Phase of Pre-Season Training


D.B. Selyukin
National Mineral Resources University (Mining University), St. Petersburg
E.G. Mokeeva
Lesgaft national state university of physical culture, sport and health, St. Petersburg

Key words: immune status, psychophysiological state, powerlifting, pre-season training, oxymethyluracyl.

Introduction. Training and competitive loads have increased substantially in the modern sport in the last 30 years and are peak for a human body. They tend to be followed by disorders of the functions of the central nervous system [1,3] and immunity [7]. It is getting more evidence that athlete's results depend not only on the level of his functional state, motivations and emotions, but on the state of immunity. So it is doubtless that immune status of elite athletes should be controlled and the ways of correction of immune disorders are to be developed to increase mortality, intensify training activity and increase effectiveness. Nowadays the use of immune oriented products of increased biological value and pharmacological preparations without side effects and not in the list of prohibited by WADA are the most relevant directions of prevention and correction of immune disorders among athletes [5, 8].

The purpose of the study was to consider the changes in the immune status of elite powerlifters at the pre-season training phase and substantiate the capacity of their pharmacological correction using oxymethyluracyl.

Materials and methods. There were examined 20 powerlifters (18-20 years old) of the same sport qualification (the highest ranks - I and candidate for master of sport), with approximately same fitness and skills levels, who were first subjected to a "leveling" training phase lasting 3 weeks. Next the athletes were divided into two equal groups (10 people each). A unified training program was designed for powerlifters of both groups and control competitions were conducted at the beginning and at the end of the study.

Athletes of the corrective group were taking 0.5 gramms of oxymethyluracil (OMU) twice a day on an empty stomach before meals during the first and the final ten-day periods of the 4-week pre-season training. Powerlifters did not take the preparation in the pause between these training periods and right before the competition.

The recovery processes from the previous training effects were assumed to be speeded up in the first ten days of taking the preparation, and optimal conditions for the realization of accumulated training abilities in the competitive week were to be created in the final ten-day period.

The functional activity of phagocytes was assessed using the NBT-test and phagocytosis. The levels of the circulating immune complexes (CIC) were determined by the method of the polyethylene glycol precipitation. Immunoglobulin (Ig) of M, G and A classes and the C3-complement component in serum was determined using a Simple Radial Immunodiffusion Method. The study of T-lymphocytes and their subpopulations as well as B-lymphocyte was performed in rosette-forming reactions. The psychological state and personality traits were assessed using a simple sensorimotor reaction as well as study of the volume and distribution of attention by Schulte tables and the WAM methodology. The functional state of the autonomic nervous system was evaluated by analyzing the variational pulsometry with an orthostatic test by R.M. Baevsky. The effectiveness of competitive activity was evaluated by the maximum competitive result in different kinds of exercises and powerlifting.

Results and discussion. Based on the available understanding of the nature of the immune system reactions to different kinds of exposure, including physical exercises, when assessing immunograms (by leucocytogram) the observed athletes could be characterized in the following way. Initially the athletes in both groups were predominantly of normal neutrophil-lymphocyte (I type) immune response [2]. With increase of the duration of the training period and physical loads a shift of the immune response in favor of II (neutrophil) and III (lymphocytic) types occurred in athletes in the control group. While taking OMU this shift was less pronounced and concerned only the type II response whereas type I remained stable. These data suggested the retaining of a background immune response (type I) characteristic of normal immunograms in athletes taking OMU. The immunogram lability in athletes of the control group indicated the need of adaptabilities provided by the compensatory replacement of one type of response with another.

The relative content of active phagocytes in the peripheral blood and phagocytic index during the 5-week examination regardless of the athletes groups (with or without OMU) were synchronously same, but with a pronounced decrease on the 2nd week of training and with a gradual increase on the 5th week. In other words, physical exercises themselves are accompanied by an increase in the number of active phagocytes regardless of the intake of OMU. The phagocytic number in the same synchronicity with the phagocytic index dropped by the 2nd week of observation and increased by the 5th week. Considering this there were no statistically significant differences found in all five terms of studies, although the nature of the curve slope at the stage of "recovery" differed. The indicator of the NBT test responded more dynamically, in which the О2-dependent metabolism of phagocytes in athletes on the background of the OMU intake was markedly activated by the "immediate" type, i.e. already on the 1st week of the preparation intake. It was later dropped down during the pause in the intake of OMU and remained elevated from the initial level till the end of the observation period. In the group not taking OMU this metabolic activation developed by the "delayed" type. At the same time a biphasic nature of the activation process was noted in both groups with peaks in the second and fourth weeks of the training period. The index of neutrophil activation was also changing in phases according to the NBT-test indicators.

The measurement of lymphocyte populations showed that the dynamics of T-helpers/effectors was characterized by the decrease phase on the 1st week of the training period, an increase during the 2nd and 4th weeks and return to normal by the end of the observation period. These changes were directly related only to the training factors and did not depend on the intake of OMU. Different results were obtained when measuring the level of cytotoxic T-lymphocytes when their number significantly (p <0.02) increased within 2 weeks of OMU intake compared to the control group. By the end of the 4th week the differences in the content of these lymphocytes decreased and leveled by the end of the observation period. In this context OMU had shown its immunomodulatory property. The number of B-lymphocytes in both groups of athletes tended to decrease, but due to individual differences no statistically significant differences were detected. Nevertheless, during the OMU intake the recovery period was accelerated, being almost 2 weeks ahead of the control group.

Fluctuations in the IgM level in athletes of the control group did not exceed physiological norms. There was only noted the growing tendency in the 4th week of observations during the OMU intake. There were found no fundamentally significant changes in the IgM level during the pre-season period. The increase in the level of IgA occurred equally in both groups and was associated only with loads of the training period. A notable feature of the dynamics of the IgG level was the rapid increase that held on throughout the whole period of observation. This increase was less significant and volatile in athletes of the control group.

The CIC level did not depend on the OMU intake by athletes and its content has equally been growing from the 10th to the 17th days of training, i.e. during the most intensive specialized loads. The content of the С3 complement component in the control group was significantly reduced.

In general, the dynamics of the athletes’ immune status has revealed dysimmunity depending on the athletes’ functional state and the immunomodulatory properties of OMU.

The results of the analysis of psychophysiological characteristics showed a statistically significant improvement in the studied parameters in the corrected group of powerlifters after the study. In the control group, statistically significant positive changes were not identified. There was revealed a marked deterioration in self-assessment of physical condition, activity and mood both before and after training among the members of the same group.

Thus, the athletes of the corrective group compared with the control group had the best indicators of mental adaptation (simple reaction, volume and distribution of attention) and better readiness according to subjective feelings – the powerlifters who were taking OMU noted that they feel good and want to train.

According to the cardiointervalographic study, thanks to the rationally organized training process the optimum levels of hemodynamics and heart rate regulation were created in athletes with the formation of a balanced response to load. At the same time OMU had an optimizing effect on initial autonomic tone, autonomic reactivity and nature of autonomic maintenance of athletes at the pre-season training stage.

Competitive effectiveness at the end of the pre-season training phase was improved in certain types of exercises as well as in powerlifting in both groups of athletes. However, the increment value in all kinds of exercises and powerlifting was higher in the corrective group. In front squats the increase in the group taking OMU compared with the control group was 5,8 kg, in the bench press – 2,55 kg, deadlift – 5,4 kg and in powerlifting -13,75 kg. Moreover, the increment value in the corrective group in powerlifting was statistically significant (р<0,05).

Improvement of the competitive performance in both groups is obviously related to the rational planning of training loads of powerlifters during pre-season training. The highest indices of competitive effectiveness in the corrective group can be attributed to the anabolic and anti-catabolic effects of OMU.

Conclusion. Hence, the use of high psychophysical loads in the control group provoked changes of the indices of immune status from functional tension to transient immune suppression and psychoemotional stress. The immune and psychophysiologival optimum of the state was maintained in the experimental group in spite of the graduated load. Such a conclusion is confirmed by the objective measurements, personal self-assessment and higher effectiveness of competitive activity of athletes who took oxymethyluracyl.


  1.  Apchel, V.Ya. Man's stress and stress resistance / V.Ya. Apchel, V.N. Tsygan. – St. Petersburg: VMedA, 1999. – 86 P.
  2. Lebedev, K.A. Immunogram in clinical practice: an introduction to applied immunology / K.A. Lebedev, I.D. Ponyakina. – Moscow: Nauka, 1990. – 223 P.
  3. Marishchuk, V.L. Emotions in sports stress / V.L. Marishchuk. – St. Petersburg: MIPhC, 1995. – 38 P.
  4. The basics of sports immunology / M.Ya. Levin et al. – St. Petersburg: Olimp, 2006. – 222 P.
  5. Sports pharmacology and dietology / T.V. Gischak [et al.], ed. by S.A. Oleynik, LM. Gunina. – Moscow: Williams, 2008. – 256 P.
  6. Suzdal'nitsky, R.S. Immunologic aspects of human sports activity / R.S. Suzdal'nitsky, V.A. Levando // Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury. – 1998. – № 10. – P. 43-46.
  7. Suzdal'nitsky, R.S. New approaches to interpretation of sports stress immunodeficiencies / R.S. Suzdal'nitsky, V.A. Levando // Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury. – 2003. – № 1. – P. 18-22.
  8. Tsygan, V.N. Sport, immunity, nutrition / V.N. Tsygan, A.V. Skal'ny, E.G. Mokeeva. – St. Petersburg: ELBI-SPb, 2012. – 240 P.

Corresponding author: