Cell-Free DNA as an Earlier Predictor of Exercise-Induced Performance Decrement Related to Muscle Damage

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: To evaluate whether cell-free DNA (cfDNA) levels increase immediately after an acute light and heavy resistance exercise (RE) bout and whether cfDNA levels are associated with functional muscle capacity up to 48 h after an exercise session. Methods: Twenty healthy volunteers performed 3 sets of leg-press RE with 80% of 1-repetition maximum (1RM) (RE80) or 40% of 1RM (RE40) with similar exercise volume. Blood lactate was measured after completion of the 3 sets. Creatine kinase, cfDNA, and jump performance were evaluated before (pre) exercise, immediately postexercise (post-0h), and every 24 h until 48 h. Results: Lactate concentration increased similarly in both groups (RE40 4.0 [1.3] mmol/L; RE80 4.8 [1.3] mmol/L). No changes were observed in squat-jump and countermovement-jump performance after RE40; however, both jumps remained reduced until 48 h in the RE80 group. Creatine kinase concentration increased post-24h only in the RE80 group (pre 128.8 [73.7] U/L to post-24h 313.8 [116.4] U/L). cfDNA concentration increased post-0h only in the RE80 group (pre 249.8 [82.3] ng/mL to post-0h 406.3 [67.2] ng/mL). There was a negative correlation between post-0h cfDNA concentration and post-24h squat jump (r = −.521; P = .01) and post-0h cfDNA concentration and post-24h countermovement jump (r = −.539; P = .01). Conclusion: cfDNA increases in response to RE intensity even when not performed until exhaustion. cfDNA measured immediately after RE is a promising biomarker for muscle-performance decrement up to 48 h after a RE bout.

Andreatta, Curty, Coutinho, and Barauna are with the Laboratory of Molecular Physiology of Exercise Science, Health Sciences Center, and Vassallo, University Hospital Cassiano Antônio de Morares, Federal University of Espírito Santo, Vitoria, Espírito Santo, Brazil. Santos is with the Dept of Physical Education, Vila Velha University, Vila Velha, Espírito Santo, Brazil. de Sousa is with the Dept of Physical Education, Faculty of Estacio de Sá, Vitória, Espírito Santo, Brazil.

Barauna (barauna2@gmail.com) is corresponding author.
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