, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 1–6 | Cite as

Comparison of EPR Fe3+-Transferrin Versus Approved Clinical Chemistry Test for Serum Iron Measurements in Professional Ice Hockey Players and Nonathletic Controls

  • M. I. IbragimovaEmail author
  • A. Y. Chushnikov
  • G. V. Cherepnev
  • V. Yu Petukhov


This study aimed to evaluate occult abnormalities of iron turnover in elite professional athletes. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) and in vitro test for the quantitative determination of iron in human serum on “Cobas Integra 400 Plus” (CI) Roche automatic analyzer were used to evaluate the iron turnover in professional ice hockey players from four teams of the Continental Hockey League (study group, n = 110) and in two different control groups. The first group consisted of nonathletic young men (healthy controls, n = 25). The second group included male and female patients with different pathological conditions (comparison group, n = 16). The data pairs were compared using linear regression analysis, EPR data versus CI measurements. In the control and the comparison groups, EPR Fe3+ data associated with transferrin were highly correlated with CI serum iron measurements (squared correlation coefficient, r2 = 0.95). In the study group, correlation of the EPR Fe3+ measurements with CI serum iron levels in different teams of ice hockey players was statistically less powerful (r2 ranged from 0.61 to 0.78). Acute-phase copper-containing protein ceruloplasmin serum levels determined by EPR are also reported. Acute-phase responses were undetectable in most hockey players within quarterly scheduled medical examinations. The EPR spectroscopy combined with the routine biochemical serum iron measurements enable to detect occult dysmetabolic changes in iron turnover during intensive physical exercises. The results obtained support the use of EPR spectroscopy in the sports medicine because it helps to avoid misinterpretation of personalized biochemical markers and could facilitate the proper monitoring of iron-targeted interventions.


Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) Elite athletes Iron turnover Occult abnormalities Ceruloplasmin 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

The written informed consent was obtained from each participant. The study was approved by the Kazan (Volga Region) Federal University ethics committee.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. 1.
    Schumacher, Y. O., Schmid, A., Grathwohl, D., Bültermann, D., & Berg, A. (2002). Hematological indices and iron status in athletes of various sports and performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 34, 869–875.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Martínez, A. C., Cámara, F. J., & Vicente, G. V. (2002). Status and metabolism of iron in elite sportsmen during a period of professional competition. Biological Trace Element Research, 89, 205–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Karamizrak, S. O., Işlegen, C., Varol, S. R., Taşkiran, Y., Yaman, C., Mutaf, I., & Akgün, N. (1996). Evaluation of iron metabolism indices and their relation with physical work capacity in athletes. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 30, 15–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Podgórski, T., Kryściak, J., Konarski, J., Domaszewska, K., Durkalec-Michalski, K., Strzelczyk, R., & Pawlak, M. (2015). Iron metabolism in field hockey players during an annual training cycle. Journal of Humam Kinetics, 47, 107–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Anđelković, M., Baralić, I., Đorđević, B., Stevuljević, J. K., Radivojević, N., Dikić, N., Škodrić, S. R., & Stojković, M. (2015). Hematological and biochemical parameters in elite soccer players during a competitive half season. J Med Biochem, 34, 460–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Parisotto, R., Gore, C. J., Emslie, K. R., Ashenden, M. J., Brugnara, C., Howe, C., Martin, D. T., Trout, G. J., & Hahn, A. G. (2000). A novel method utilizing markers of altered erythropoiesis for the detection of recombinant human erythropoietin abuse in athletes. Haematologica, 85, 564–572.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Brissot, P., Ropert, M., Lan, C., & Loréal, O. (2012). Non-transferrin bound iron: a key role in iron overload and iron toxicity. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 1820, 403–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Zak, O., & Aisen, P. (1988). Spectroscopic and thermodynamic studies on the binding of gadolinium (III) to human serum transferrin. Biochemistry, 27, 1075–1080.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Grady, J. K., Mason, A. B., Woodworth, R. C., & Chasteen, N. D. (1995). The effect of salt and site-directed mutations on the iron (III)-binding site of human serum transferrin as probed by EPR spectroscopy. The Biochemical Journal, 309, 403–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hershko, C., Graham, G., Bates, G. W., & Rachmilewitz, E. A. (1978). Non-specific serum iron in thalassaemia: an abnormal serum iron fraction of potential toxicity. British Journal of Haematology, 40, 255–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Mailer, C., Swartz, H. M., Konieczny, M., Ambegaonkar, S., & Moore, V. L. (1974). Identity of the paramagnetic element found in increased concentration in plasma of cancer patients and its relationship to other pathological processes. Cancer Research, 34, 637–642.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Dawson, J. H., Dooley, D. M., Clark, R., Stephens, P. J., & Gray, H. B. (1979). Spectroscopic studies of ceruloplasmin. Electronic structures of the copper sites. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 101, 5046–5053.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Kleinhans, F. W., Kline, S. C., Dugan, W. M., Jr., & Williams, J. G. (1983). Comparison of electron paramagnetic resonance and atomic absorption serum copper measurements in human normal control and cancer patients. Cancer Research, 43, 3447–3450.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Mukhopadhyay, C. K., Mazumder, B., Lindley, P. F., & Fox, P. L. (1997). Identification of the pro-oxidant site of human ceruloplasmin: a model for oxidative damage by copper bound to protein surfaces. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 94, 11546–11551.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Weight, L. M., Alexander, D., & Jacobs, P. (1991). Strenuous exercise: analogous to the acute-phase response? Clinical Science (London, England), 81, 677–683.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Fallon, K. E., Fallon, S. K., & Boston, T. (2001). The acute phase response and exercise: court and field sports. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 35, 170–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Martín-Sánchez, F. J., Villalón, J. M., Zamorano-León, J. J., Rosas, L. F., Proietti, R., Mateos-Caceres, P. J., González-Armengol, J. J., Villarroel, P., Macaya, C., & López-Farré, A. J. (2011). Functional status and inflammation after preseason training program in professional and recreational soccer players: a proteomic approach. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 10, 45–51.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Schild, M., Eichner, G., Beiter, T., Zügel, M., Krumholz-Wagner, I., Hudemann, J., Pilat, C., Krüger, K., Niess, A. M., Steinacker, J. M., & Mooren, F. C. (2016). Effects of acute endurance exercise on plasma protein profiles of endurance-trained and untrained individuals over time. Mediators of Inflammation, 2016, 4851935.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Aasa, R. J. (1970). Powder line shapes in the electron paramagnetic resonance spectra of high-spin ferric complexes. Chemical Physics, 52, 3919–3930.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Yang, A. S., & Gaffney, B. J. (1987). Determination of relative spin concentration in some high-spin ferric proteins using E/D-distribution in electron paramagnetic resonance simulation. Biophysical Journal, 51, 55–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Montgomery, D. L. (1988). Physiology of ice hockey. Sports Medicine, 5, 99–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Hadžović-Džuvo, A., Valjevac, A., Lepara, O., Pjanić, S., Hadžimuratović, A., & Mekić, A. (2014). Oxidative stress status in elite athletes engaged in different sport disciplines. Bosnian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences, 14, 56–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Spanidis, Y., Goutzourelas, N., Stagos, D., Mpesios, A., Priftis, A., Bar-Or, D., Spandidos, D. A., Tsatsakis, A. M., Leon, G., & Kouretas, D. (2016). Variations in oxidative stress markers in elite basketball players at the beginning and end of a season. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, 11, 147–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Balfoussia, E., Skenderi, K., Tsironi, M., Anagnostopoulos, A. K., Parthimos, N., Vougas, K., Papassotiriou, I., Tsangaris, G. T., & Chrousos, G. P. (2014). A proteomic study of plasma protein changes under extreme physical stress. Journal of Proteomics, 98, 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Sen, C. K. (2001). Antioxidants in exercise nutrition. Sports Medicine, 31, 891–908.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Pingitore, A., Lima, G. P., Mastorci, F., Quinones, A., Iervasi, G., & Vassalle, C. (2015). Exercise and oxidative stress: potential effects of antioxidant dietary strategies in sports. Nutrition, 31, 916–922.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. I. Ibragimova
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. Y. Chushnikov
    • 1
  • G. V. Cherepnev
    • 2
  • V. Yu Petukhov
    • 1
  1. 1.Zavoisky Physical-Technical Institute, FRC Kazan Scientific Center of RASKazanRussia
  2. 2.University Clinic of KazanKazan (Volga Region) Federal UniversityKazanRussia

Personalised recommendations