Immune function and incidence of infection during basic infantry training


  1. Brenner, K.M.
  2. Severs, Y.D.
  3. Rhind, S.G.
  4. Shephard, R.J.
  5. Shek, P.N.
Corporate Authors
Defence and Civil Inst of Environmental Medicine, Downsview ONT (CAN)
The effect of an 18.5-week infantry training program on health status was studied in 23 male military personnel (aged 22.0 + or - 0.5 years, mean + or - SE). Aerobic power, body composition, and immune function (including natural killer cell activity, mitogen-stimulated lymphocyte proliferation, in vivo cell- mediated immunity, and secretory immunoglobulin A levels) were measured in subjects at the beginning and end of the course. Subjects self-reported their symptoms or sickness in health logs using a precoded checklist. Data from this study indicate that subjects became leaner and maintained, but did not increase, their aerobic fitness by the end of the course. Cell function was enhanced significantly; however, in vivo cell-mediated immunity remained the same, and levels of secretory immunoglobulin A were lower by the end of the course. The incidence of infection remained stable throughout the course. These results indicate that the current pattern of infantry training does not have an adverse effect on the health status of recruits. The purpose of this study was to investigate the health effects of participation in an infantry training course that was designed to prepare soldiers for basic duties within a platoon context. TRUNCATED
Immune function;Natural killer cells;Immune response;Immune system;Exertion;Basic training;Infections
Report Number
DCIEM-SL-1999-086 — Scientific Literature
Date of publication
30 Nov 2000
Number of Pages
Reprinted from
Military Medicine, vol 165, 2000, p 878-883
Hardcopy;Document Image stored on Optical Disk

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