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Exerc Immunol Rev. 2007;13:15-36.

Biomarkers of exercise-induced myocardial stress in relation to inflammatory and oxidative stress.

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Centre for Internal Medicine, Division of Rehabilitation, Prevention and Sports Medicine, Freiburg University Hospital, Hugstetterstr. 55, 79106 Freiburg, Germany.


Increased concentrations of biomarkers reflecting myocardial stress such as cardiac troponin I and T and brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) have been observed following strenuous, long-lasting endurance exercise. The pathophysiological mechanisms are still not fully elucidated and the interpretations of increased post-exercise concentrations range from (i) evidence for exercise-induced myocardial damage to (ii) non-relevant spurious troponin elevations, presumably caused by assay imprecision or heterophilic antibodies. Several lines of evidence suggest that inflammatory processes or oxidative stress could be involved in the rise of NT-proBNP and Troponin observed in critically ill patients with sepsis or burn injury. We tested the hypothesis that inflammatory or oxidative stress is also responsible for exercise-induced cardiomyocyte strain in a large cohort of triathletes following an Ironman triathlon. However, the post-race increase in cardiac troponin T and NT-proBNP was not associated with several markers of exercise-induced inflammation, oxidative stress or antioxidant vitamins. Therefore, we clearly need more studies with other inflammatory markers and different designs to elucidate the scientific background for increases in myocardial stress markers following strenuous endurance events.

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