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Int J Sports Med. 2012 Mar;33(3):244-8. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1291251. Epub 2012 Jan 19.

Leptin and endocrine parameters in marathon runners.

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Charité, Department of Endocrinolgy, Diabetes and Nutrition, Berlin, Germany.


Endurance training may lead to different hormonal alterations e. g., exercised induced hypothalamic ovarian/testicular dysfunction. The aim of this study was to reveal new connections between physical exercise, leptin and hormonal responses. 36 male participants of the Berlin-Marathon had their blood samples taken 2 days before the marathon. Hormones of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis and leptin were correlated with the training status and the achieved marathon time. Leptin correlated with the achieved marathon time after being adjusted for age and BMI (r=0.607, p<0.001) and was lowest in the best trained runners. Additionally, when the group was divided into quartiles of their achieved marathon time, significantly increased cortisol, fT4, cortisol/DHEAS ratio and decreased IGF-1 levels were observed in the slowest group. In the better trained group, a decrease of testosterone/DHT ratio and an increase of testosterone/cortisol ratio were observed. Our study supports the thesis of a linear relationship between physical fitness and leptin variations in the physiological range. We found an increased anabolic hormonal response in well trained marathon runners and hormonal reactions of increased stress in less trained runners. As the stress-induced neuroendocrine adaptations in our study group are associated with more higher leptin values, the pathophysiological role of decreased leptin values seems to be limited to overtrained athletes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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