Increases in high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels have previously been reported after moderate exercise bouts lasting less than two hours in men. Little information exists, however, on HDL-C responses after moderate duration exercise in women. Post-exercise HDL-C modifications may appear differently in women because of higher baseline HDL-C concentrations and differences in lipolytic activity. To determine the influence of exercise on acute HDL-C responses in women, 12 trained premenopausal women (22 (4) years old; mean (SD)) who ran 24-48 km a week exercised on a motor driven treadmill at 75% VO2MAX until 3.34 MJ (800 kcal) were expended (72 (9) min). Subjects were all tested during the early follicular phase of their menstrual cycle. Fasting blood samples were obtained before exercise (baseline), immediately after (IPE), one hour after (1 h PE), 24 hours after (24 h PE), and 48 hours after (48 h PE) exercise. Plasma was analysed for HDL-C, HDL2-C, and HDL3-C. A significant increase in HDL-C was observed 48 h PE (p<0.05). HDL3-C increased IPE (p<0.01) but returned to baseline at 1 h PE. In contrast, HDL2-C was not significantly different from baseline at any time point. The rise in HDL-C, however, was attributed to an increase in both HDL2 and HDL3. Moreover, at 48 h PE, the increase in HDL-C correlated highly with changes in HDL2-C (r = 0.92). Thus it appears that exercise of moderate duration can elicit similar post-exercise increases in HDL-C in women to those previously reported in men. However, the changes in HDL subfractions leading to the rise in HDL-C may be different in women.
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