Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Short-term glucocorticoid intake combined with intense training on performance and hormonal responses
  1. K Collomp1,2,
  2. A Arlettaz1,
  3. H Portier1,
  4. A-M Lecoq1,3,
  5. B Le Panse1,
  6. N Rieth1,
  7. J De Ceaurriz2
  1. 1
    Laboratoire Activité Physique, Santé et Performance, UFR STAPS, Université d’Orléans, Orleans, France
  2. 2
    Département des Analyses, Agence Française de Lutte contre le Dopage, Chatenay-Malabry, France
  3. 3
    Service de Médecine du Sport, CHR Orléans, Orleans, France
  1. Professor K Collomp, Laboratoire Activité Physique, Santé et Performance, Faculté du Sport et de l’Education Physique, 2, Allée du Château, BP 6237, 45062 Orléans Cedex 2, France; katia.collomp{at}


Objective: To investigate the effects of short-term prednisolone ingestion combined with intense training on exercise performance, hormonal (adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), prolactin, luteinising hormone (LH), growth hormone (GH), thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), testosterone, insulin) and metabolic parameters (blood glucose, lactate, bicarbonate, pH).

Methods: Eight male recreational athletes completed four cycling trials at 70–75% peak O2 consumption until exhaustion just before (1) and after (2) either oral placebo or prednisolone (60 mg/day for 1 week) treatment coupled with standardised physical training (2 hours/day), according to a double-blind and randomised protocol. Blood samples were collected at rest, during exercise and passive recovery for the hormonal and metabolic determinations.

Results: Time of cycling was not significantly changed after placebo but significantly increased (p<0.05) after prednisolone administration (50.4 (6.2) min for placebo 1, 64.0 (9.1) min for placebo 2, 56.1 (9.1) min for prednisolone 1 and 107.0 (20.7) min for prednisolone 2). There was no significant difference in any measured parameters after the week of training with placebo but a decrease in ACTH, DHEA, PRL, GH, TSH and testosterone was seen with prednisolone treatment during the experiment (p<0.05). No significant change in basal, exercise or recovery LH, insulin, lactate, pH or bicarbonate was found between the two treatment, but blood glucose was significantly higher under prednisolone (p<0.05) at all time points.

Conclusion: Short-term glucocorticoid administration induced a marked improvement in endurance performance. Further studies are needed to determine whether these results obtained in recreational male athletes maintaining a rigorous training schedule are gender-dependent and applicable to elite athletes.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Competing interests: None declared.