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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1989 Aug;69(2):369-76.

Estrogen 2-hydroxylase oxidation and menstrual function among elite oarswomen.

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Department of Population Sciences, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.


We monitored the estrogen metabolism and menstrual function of two groups of elite oarswomen as they progressed from a phase of low intensity training (phase I), to high intensity training (phase II), and back to low intensity training (phase III). Each phase lasted 3 months. The two groups of oarswomen included five oarswomen (group A) who experienced no menstrual dysfunction during the training year, even during the phase of high intensity training, and five oarswomen (group B) who experienced normal menses during phases of low intensity training but disrupted menses during the phase of high intensity training. Four nonathletic controls were also studied. Menstrual function was monitored throughout the training year by assay for pregnanediol glucuronide in overnight 12-h urine samples collected twice weekly. Repeated measures of the extent of estradiol metabolized by 2-hydroxylase oxidation, total body water, and nutrient intake of group A and B oarswomen were made at the three phases of the training year; the extent of estradiol metabolized by 2-hydroxylase oxidation was evaluated by radiometric analysis; total body water was measured by deuterium oxide dilution and bioimpedance analysis; and nutrient intake was evaluated by food frequency questionnaire. The group B oarswomen were found to metabolize a significantly greater fraction of administered [2-3H]estradiol by 2-hydroxylase oxidation than group A oarswomen (chi 2(1) = 6.57; P = 0.01). The extent of estradiol metabolized by 2-hydroxylase oxidation among group A oarswomen did not differ from that among nonathletic controls. The extent of 2-hydroxylase activity did not change significantly with the intensity of training among either group A or group B oarswomen. Oarswomen in groups A and B lost body weight and became leaner during the phase of high intensity training (phase II). Group A and B oarswomen did not differ in the degree of weight loss or in relative fatness during phase II. Over all subjects, the extent of estradiol metabolized by 2-hydroxylase oxidation was positively correlated with the extent of leanness. These data suggest that elevated estradiol 2-hydroxylase oxidation among elite oarswomen is associated with the occurrence of menstrual disturbances during phases of high intensity training and increased relative leanness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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