By Jordana Bieze Foster
Increased exercise duration is associated with elevated levels of a serum biomarker previously found to be an indicator of cartilage damage, according to research from the University of Kentucky in Lexington presented in June at the annual meeting of the National Athletic Trainers Association.
Investigators assessed serum cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (sCOMP) levels in six female collegiate soccer athletes weekly for eight weeks during the spring soccer season and for two “control” weeks after that. Weekly minutes of participation were also documented for all soccer-related physical activity.
Weekly participation ranged from 330 to 840 minutes. sCOMP levels peaked at 1596 ng/ml for the week of maximum physical activity, but returned to near baseline levels after the season ended. For every 100 minute increase in athletic participation, sCOMP levels increased by 53 ng/ml—a statistically significant effect.
The authors noted that it remains unclear whether the observed increases represent a temporary physiologic increase in cartilage turnover or irreversible changes to the articular cartilage.
Source: Mateer JL, Hoch JM, Mattacola CG, et al. The influence of exercise intensity on serum cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (sCOMP). Presented at the 63rd annual meeting of the National Athletic Trainers Association, St. Louis, MO, June 2012.