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We evaluated the effect of cold ice-pack application following a brief sprint-interval training on the balance between anabolic mediators [growth hormone (GH), insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), testosterone], catabolic markers (cortisol, IGFBP-1), and circulating pro [Interlukin-6 (IL-6) and IL-1beta]- and anti-inflammatory cytokines [IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra)]. Twelve males, elite junior handball players performed 4 x 250 m treadmill run, at 80% of each individual’s maximal speed, followed by a rest period with and without local cold-pack application. Pre, immediately post, and 60-min post-exercise blood samples were drawn. Exercise was associated with a significant increase in IL-6, GH, IGFBP-3, and testosterone levels. Local cold-pack application was associated with significant decreases in IL-1beta, IL-1ra, IGF-I, and IGFBP-3 and a greater increase of IGFBP-1 during recovery. Local ice therapy immediately following sprint-interval training was associated with greater decreases in both pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines and anabolic hormones supporting some clinical evidence for possible negative effects on athletic performance.

Nemet, D, Meckel, Y, Bar-Sela, S, Zaldivar, F, Cooper, DM and Eliakim, A. (2009) “Effect of local cold-pack application on systemic anabolic and inflammatory response to sprint-interval training: a prospective comparative trial”. Eur J Appl Physiol 107 (4) 411-7.

Full Article : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19652995