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Hormonal Responses to a 160 Km Race across Frozen Alaska
  1. William J. Kraemer (william.kraemer{at}uconn.edu)
  1. University of Connecticut, United States
    1. Maren S. Fragala (maren.fragala{at}uconn.edu)
    1. University of Connecticut, United States
      1. Greig Watson (greig.watson{at}uconn.edu)
      1. University of Connecticut, United States
        1. Jeff S Volek (jeff.volek{at}uconn.edu)
        1. University of Connecticut, United States
          1. Kristen J. Stuempfle (kristine.stuempfle{at}gc.edu)
          1. Gettysburg College, United States
            1. Donald R. Lehmann (d.lehmann{at}smc.com)
            1. Sitka Medical Center, Sitka, AK., United States
              1. Stephen Bailey (baileys{at}elon.edu)
              1. Elon University, United States
                1. Sherri L. Hughes (s.hughes{at}mdc.edu)
                1. McDaniel College, United States
                  1. Martyn R. Rubin (martyn.rubin{at}uconn.edu)
                  1. University of Connecticut, United States
                    1. Duncan N. French (duncan.french{at}uconn.edu)
                    1. University of Connecticut, United States
                      1. Carl M. Maresh (carl.maresh{at}uconn.edu)
                      1. University of Connecticut, United States
                        1. Jakob L. Vingren (jakob.vingren{at}uconn.edu)
                        1. University of Connecticut, United States
                          1. Disa L. Hatfield (disa.hatfield{at}uconn.edu)
                          1. University of Connecticut, United States
                            1. Barry A. Spiering (barry.spiering{at}uconn.edu)
                            1. University of Connecticut, United States
                              1. Jen Yu Ho (jen.yu-ho{at}uconn.edu)
                              1. University of Connecticut, United States
                                1. Debbie S. Evans (d.evans{at}anmc.com)
                                1. Alaska Native Medical Center, Anchorage, Alaska, United States
                                  1. H. Samuel Case (h.case{at}mdc.edu)
                                  1. McDaniel College, United States

                                    Abstract

                                    Background: Severe physical and environmental stress appears to have a suppressive effect on the hypothalamic-pituitary gonadal (HPG) axis in men. Examining hormonal responses to an actual extreme 160 km competition across frozen Alaska provides a unique opportunity to study this intense stress.

                                    Objective: To examine hormonal responses to an ultra-endurance race. Methods: Blood samples were obtained from 16 men before and after racing, and analyzed for testosterone, interleukin-6 (IL-6), growth hormone (GH), and cortisol. Six subjects (age, (Mean ± SD) 42 ± 7 y; body mass, 78.9 ± 7.1 kg; height , 1.78 ± 0.05 m) raced by bicycle (cyclists) and ten subjects (age, 35 ± 9 y; body mass 77.9 ± 10.6 kg; height, 1.82 ± 0.05 m) raced by foot (runners); mean (± SD) finish times were 21.83 ± 6.27 hr and 33.98 ± 6.12 hr, respectively.

                                    Results: In cyclists there were significant (p ≤ 0.05) pre- to post-race increases in cortisol (mean ± SD, 254.83 ± 135.26 to 535.99 ± 232.22 nmol•L-1), GH (0.12 ± 0.23 to 3.21 ± 3.33 µg•ml-1), and IL-6 (2.36 ± 0.42 to 10.15 ± 0.3.28 pg•ml-1), and a significant decrease in testosterone (13.81 ± 3.19 to 5.59 ± 3.74 nmol•L-1). Similarly, in runners there were significant pre- to post-race increases in cortisol (142.09 ± 50.74 to 452.21 ± 163.40 ng•ml-1), GH (0.12 ± 0.23 to 3.21 ± 3.33 µg•ml-1), IL-6 (2.42 ± 0.68 to 12.25 ± 1.78 pg•ml-1), and a significant decrease in testosterone (12.32 ± 4.47 to 6.96 ± 3.19 nmol•L-1). There were no significant differences in the hormonal concentrations between the cyclists and runners (p > 0.05).

                                    Conclusions: These data suggest a suppression of the hypopituitary-gonadal-axis potentially mediated by amplification of adrenal stress responses to such an ultra-endurance race in environmentally stressful conditions.

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