Asthma symptoms, mannitol reactivity and exercise-induced bronchoconstriction in adolescent swimmers versus tennis players

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Strenuous physical activity at an elite level is associated with an increased risk for asthma and, in some sports, also prevalence of allergies. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of asthma and allergy among elite swimmers and tennis players and compare airway hyperreactivity to mannitol and exercise. Materials and methods: One hundred and one adolescent swimmers and 86 tennis players answered a questionnaire about respiratory symptoms and allergy and performed mannitol challenge and sport-specific exercise challenge. Atopy was assessed and fractional exhaled nitric oxide was measured. Mannitol positivity was defined as drop in FEV1 ≥15% (ordinary criteria) and/or β2-reversibility (≥15%) after provocation (extended criteria). A positive exercise test was defined as a drop in FEV1 ≥10% (ordinary criteria) and/or β2-reversibility (≥15%) after provocation (extended criteria). Club cell protein (CC16) was measured in urine before and after the challenges. Results: Asthma symptoms were common in both groups. More swimmers had exercise-induced symptoms (77% versus 50%) and current asthma symptoms (56% versus 38%), compared to the tennis players. More swimmers also had a positive mannitol challenge test both using ordinary (26% versus 6%) and extended criteria (43% versus 17%), while the number of positive exercise tests did not differ. After exercise (but not mannitol) challenge, CC16 level was increased in both groups, but to a higher extent in tennis players. There were no differences in atopy, rhinitis or fractional exhaled nitric oxide. Conclusion: We found a high prevalence of asthma among elite swimmers and tennis players and a higher frequency of current asthma and positive mannitol challenge tests among the swimmers. This indicates an unfavorable exercise environment.


External organisations
  • Näsets Läkargrupp
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Respiratory Medicine and Allergy
  • Sport and Fitness Sciences


  • Asthma, Bronchial hyperreactivity test, CC16 bronchial hyperreactivity, Exercise, Mannitol, Sport, Swimming, Tennis
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-260
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Asthma and Allergy
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct 3
Publication categoryResearch