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Endurance exercise and the production of growth hormone and haematopoietic factors in patients with anaemia
  1. F Dimeo2,
  2. W Knauf2,
  3. D Geilhaupt1,
  4. D Böning1
  1. 1Department of Sports Medicine, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Hindenburgdamm 30, 12200 Berlin, Germany
  2. 2Department of Haematology, Oncology and Transfusion Medicine, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Dimeo
 Department of Haematology, Oncology and Transfusion Medicine, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Hindenburgdamm 30, 12200 Berlin, Germany;


Background: Physical activity has been shown to stimulate haematopoiesis in patients with anaemia due to chronic renal failure or haematological malignancies.

Objective: To evaluate the effect of moderate exercise on the production of haematopoietically active factors.

Methods: Ten patients (four men and six women, mean (SD) age 51 (10) years) with a haemoglobin concentration under 130 g/l (men) or 120 g/l (women) carried out five three minute exercise bouts at an intensity of 80% of the maximal heart rate, corresponding to a lactate concentration of 3 (0.5) mmol/l. Patients rested for three minutes between bouts. The concentrations of interleukin 6, stem cell factor, granulocyte-monocyte colony stimulating factor, granulocyte colony stimulating factor, erythropoietin, and growth hormone (GH) were evaluated before and in the eight hours after exercise.

Results: GH had risen significantly 15 minutes after exercise (1.1 (1.3) v 2.7 (2.8) ng/ml; p<0.05). No change in the concentration of the other cytokines and growth factors was observed in the eight hours after exercise.

Conclusions: In patients with anaemia, submaximal exercise does not affect the concentration of haematopoietically active cytokines. However, it leads to an increased concentration of GH. This may be responsible for the improved haematopoiesis observed after an exercise programme in patients with chronic diseases.

  • G-CSF, granulocyte colony stimulating factor
  • GH, growth hormone
  • GM-CSF, granulocyte-monocyte colony stimulating factor
  • anaemia
  • exercise
  • growth factors
  • haematological malignancy
  • cytokines

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