In our study we investigated the red blood cell indices and the adaptation to exercise by means of the 2,3-diphosphoglycerate (2,3-DPG) red cell contents and P50 levels in a group of runners. In the runners the 2,3-DPG red cell content was signficantly higher than in controls, while P50 values were not significatly different. RBC indices revealed both a significant decrease of RBC count and an increase of MCV in the runner group. Hb, PCV, MCH and MCHC were not significantly different. This aspect may be caused by an increase of the erythropoietic activity compensating for a mild haemolysis. Such events could induce an increase of the number of young RBC with a mean enhancement of some glycolytic substrates, such as 2,3-DPG. The failure to find and increase of P50 could be attributed to a greater than normal oxygen extraction by an improvement of mithocondria activity.
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