The impact of sex and exercise duration on growth hormone secretion


Previous research clearly indicates a linear relationship between exercise intensity and growth hormone (GH) release and that this relationship is influenced by sex. The present study examined the GH response to increasing exercise duration in young men and women. Fifteen healthy subjects (8 men and 7 women) completed three randomly assigned exercise sessions (30, 60, and 120 min) at 70% of peak oxygen consumption. Blood samples were collected every 10 min beginning 30 min before exercise, for a total of 240 min. Total integrated GH concentration (IGHC) increased with increasing exercise duration for men and women (601, 1,394, and 2,360 μg/l·4 h; 659, 1,009 and 1,243 μg/l·4 h for 30, 60, and 120 min of exercise, respectively). Regression analysis revealed that IGHC (logarithmically transformed) was significantly influenced by exercise duration (logarithmically transformed) (120 min > 60 min > 30 min) and that a significant sex-dependent effect was present even after adjustments for fitness level and percent body fat (men > women). The slope of the regression line was greater for men than for women (1.003 vs. 0.612; P = 0.013), but the average height of the regression line was greater for women (7.287 vs. 6.595; P < 0.001). Although GH secretory pulse half-duration was greater in women (P = 0.001), and GH half-life was greater in men (P = 0.001), they were not affected by exercise duration. The total mass of GH secreted during exercise increased with exercise duration (P < 0.001) but was not affected by sex (P = 0.137). Results from the present investigation indicate that when exercise intensity is constant, exercise duration significantly increases IGHC and that this relationship is sex dependent. Copyright © 2006 the American Physiological Society.

Publication Title

Journal of Applied Physiology