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Front Horm Res. 2016;47:12-26. doi: 10.1159/000445149. Epub 2016 Jun 27.

Exercise and the Hypothalamo-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis.


Exercise represents a potent physiological stimulus upon the hypothalamo-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis. Two major factors modulate the HPA axis response to exercise: intensity and duration. Endurance training per se does not induce permanent hypercortisolism as endurance-trained subjects have similar biological markers of HPA axis activity in resting condition as healthy untrained men. However, during a challenge of the HPA axis, endurance-trained subjects demonstrate an adaptation of the HPA axis activity to repeated exercise resulting from decreased tissular sensitivity to glucocorticoids. A great diversity of other mechanisms is involved in this adaptation, acting potentially at all levels in the cascade and leading to the biological effects of cortisol.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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