Ibuprofen use, endotoxemia, inflammation, and plasma cytokines during ultramarathon competition

David C. Nieman, Dru A. Henson, Charles L. Dumke, Kevin Oley, Steven R. McAnulty, J. Mark Davis, E. Angela Murphy, Alan C. Utter, Robert H. Lind, Lisa S. McAnulty, Jason D. Morrow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


The primary purpose of this study was to measure the influence of ibuprofen use during the 160-km Western States Endurance Run on endotoxemia, inflammation, and plasma cytokines. Subjects included 29 ultramarathoners who consumed 600 and 1200 mg ibuprofen the day before and on race day, respectively, and 25 controls that competed in the race but avoided ibuprofen and all other medications. Blood and urine samples were collected the morning prior to and immediately following the race, and subjects recorded muscle soreness during the week following the race using a 10-point Likert scale (DOMS). Race time (25.8 ± .6 and 25.6 ± .8 h, respectively) and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE, 6-20 scale) (14.6 ± .4 and 14.5 ± .2, respectively) did not differ significantly between ibuprofen users and nonusers. Ibuprofen use compared to nonuse was linked to a smaller increase in urine creatinine (P = .038), higher plasma levels of lipopolysaccharide (group effect, P = .042), and greater increases (pre-to-post race) in serum C-reactive protein and plasma cytokine levels for interleukin (IL)-6, IL-10, IL-8, IL-1ra, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, monocyte chemotactic protein 1, and macrophage inflammatory protein 1 beta, but not tumor necrosis factor alpha. Post-race DOMS and serum creatine kinase levels did not differ significantly between ibuprofen users and nonusers (20,621 ± 3565 and 13,886 ± 3068 μcal/L, respectively, P = .163). In conclusion, ibuprofen use compared to nonuse by athletes competing in a 160-km race did not alter muscle damage or soreness, and was related to elevated indicators of endotoxemia and inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)578-584
Number of pages7
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Gastrointestinal
  • Immunity
  • Inflammation
  • Lipopolysaccharide
  • Running


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