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Endothelin-1 (ET-1), a potential vasoconstrictor peptide, may contribute to the exercise induced redistribution of blood flow in muscles.1,2 On the other hand, the latter parameter in athletes may be expanded secondary to muscle volume and as a consequence of increased ET-1 production.3 In this study, we found a difference in basal serum ET-1 levels between trained male athletes and normal matched male controls.
We studied 13 male professional football players (mean (SEM) age 27 (1.02) years; mean (SEM) body mass index 24.2 (1.2) kg/m2) and an equal number of sedentary or moderately physically active men (age 26 (1.3) years; body mass index 24.4 (1.8) kg/m2). All subjects gave written consent and had a negative family history of diabetes and hypertension. Blood samples were collected at 8 am after an overnight fast; all subjects remained at rest for 20 minutes in a supine position, before collection of the blood specimen. ET-1 concentration in serum was measured by radioimmunoassay (Peninsula Lab Inc, Belmont, California, USA). Data were analysed by Student's t test for independent samples.
The concentration of ET-1 in the serum was significantly higher in the athletes than control subjects (22.16 (0.87) v 7.74 (0.29) pg/ml, p<0.001; values are mean (SEM)). Serum creatine kinase was also found to be significantly higher in athletes than controls (331.84 (43.3) v 110.5 (17.3) U/l, p<0.001; values are mean (SEM)).
The increased creatine kinase levels may be attributed to the increased muscle mass in athletes, and the increased serum ET-1 levels can be explained as being a consequence of a widening of the vascular bed resulting from the increased muscle weight and size.