S.C. Gurney, K.S. Christison, C.M. Williamson-Reisdorph, K.G.S. Tiemessen, J.A. Sol, T.S. Quindry, M.W. Bundle, C.G. Palmer, J.C. Quindry, FACSM, C.L. Dumke, FACSM

University of Montana, Missoula, MT

Wildland firefighters (WLFF) are confronted with numerous physical and mental stressors. Pre-fire season includes an intense 2- week critical training (CT) period; a preparatory phase that can result in injury, illness, and rhabdomyolysis. PURPOSE: To identify physiologic changes in metabolic biomarkers that occur during 2 weeks of CT in WLFF. METHODS: Eighteen male (29.4±1.1 yr, 182.1±1.6 cm) and three female (26.7±2.6 yr, 169.5±4.2 cm) participants were recruited from a Type I interagency hotshot fire crew and monitored over their 2-week CT. Fitness was assessed via BLM Fitness Challenge (push-ups, pull- ups, sit-ups, 1.5 mi run). Subjects were asked to fast and abstain from caffeine for blood draws on days 1, 4, 8, and 11. Plasma was analyzed for changes in the metabolic profile and oxidative stress markers 3-Nitrotyrosine (3NT), 8-Isoprostane (8ISO), and Lipid Hydroperoxides (LOOH). A one-way repeated measures ANOVA was used to analyze 8ISO, 3NT, and LOOH. Paired samples t-tests were used to compare metabolic biomarkers. Data presented as mean±SEM. RESULTS: CT elicited decrease in total cholesterol (TC) (173.6±12.1 to 153.4±8.6 mg·dL-1, p=0.01), hemoglobin A1c (5.2±0.1 5.1±0.1 %, p=0.003), hemoglobin (15.5±0.4 to 14.3±0.3 g·dL- 1, p=0.003), and estimated plasma volume to (53.8±0.7 to 50.7±1.4 %, p=0.005) from day 1 to 11. No difference was observed in high- density lipoprotein cholesterol. A main effect for time was observed in 8ISO (p- 1). 3NT was significantly elevated from day 4 to day 8 (d4: 2.4±0.6, d8: 2.9±0.6 mg·mL-1). LOOH showed a significant increase across all days (d1: 2.2±0.4, d4: 2.8±0.5, d8: 3.4±0.5, d11: 4.0±0.6 mM). Fitness was significantly correlated with DTC (r=0.58, p=0.046) and D8ISO (r=0.60, p=0.050). CONCLUSION: These data suggest the exertion required of WLFF during CT results in positive alterations to the metabolic profile. The changes in oxidative stress markers may reflect rapid adaptation to the CT stressors. These data suggest that WLFF are able to adapt quickly to the physical stress of CT, where fitness may be a protector of metabolic perturbations.

Funded by the US Forest Service 16-CR-11138200-005.

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