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Why do endocrine profiles in elite athletes differ between sports?

Why do endocrine profiles in elite athletes differ between sports?
Why do endocrine profiles in elite athletes differ between sports?
Background: Endocrine profiles have been measured on blood samples obtained immediately post-competition from 693 elite athletes from 15 Olympic Sports competing at National or International level; four were subsequently excluded leaving 689 for the current analysis.

Methods: Body composition was measured by bioimpedance in a sub-set of 234 (146 men and 88 women) and from these data a regression model was constructed that enabled ‘estimated’ lean body mass and fat mass to be calculated on all athletes. One way ANOVA was used to assess the differences in body composition and endocrine profiles between the sports and binary logistical regression to ascertain the characteristic of a given sport compared to the others.

Results: The results confirmed many suppositions such as basketball players being tall, weightlifters short and cross-country skiers light. The hormone profiles were more surprising with remarkably low testosterone and free T3 (tri-iodothyronine) in male powerlifters and high oestradiol, SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) and prolactin in male track and field athletes. Low testosterone concentrations were seen 25.4% of male elite competitors in 12 of the 15 sports and high testosterone concentrations in 4.8% of female elite athletes in 3 of the 8 sports tested. Interpretation of the results is more difficult; some of the differences between sports are at least partially due to differences in age of the athletes but the apparent differences between sports remain significant after adjusting for age. The prevalence of ‘hyperandrogenism’ (as defined by the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) and IOC (International Olympic Committee)) amongst this cohort of 231 elite female athletes was the highest so far recorded and the very high prevalence of ‘hypoandrogenism’ in elite male athletes a new finding.

Conclusions: It is unclear whether the differences in hormone profiles between sports is a reason why they become elite athletes in that sport or is a consequence of the arduous processes involved. For components of body composition we know that most have a major genetic component and this may well be true for endocrine profiles.
Sonksen, Peter
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Holt, Richard I.G.
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Boehning, Walailuck
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Guha, Nishan
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Cowan, David A.
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Bartlett, Christiaan
ed9cba27-96ef-419e-824b-fabab5c7cba8
Bohning, Dankmar
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Sonksen, Peter
5d27a08a-0f31-47a2-957c-b5aace71bf00
Holt, Richard I.G.
d54202e1-fcf6-4a17-a320-9f32d7024393
Boehning, Walailuck
c0e89cb8-3d21-433c-8ca1-c1ee7c5bdfa6
Guha, Nishan
38212040-a65e-4874-a60a-21f0ae3bdf09
Cowan, David A.
7701ddc5-3c97-4ba0-bad3-da79ef6d7d8c
Bartlett, Christiaan
ed9cba27-96ef-419e-824b-fabab5c7cba8
Bohning, Dankmar
1df635d4-e3dc-44d0-b61d-5fd11f6434e1

Sonksen, Peter, Holt, Richard I.G., Boehning, Walailuck, Guha, Nishan, Cowan, David A., Bartlett, Christiaan and Bohning, Dankmar (2017) Why do endocrine profiles in elite athletes differ between sports? Clinical Diabetes and Endocrinology. (In Press)

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: Endocrine profiles have been measured on blood samples obtained immediately post-competition from 693 elite athletes from 15 Olympic Sports competing at National or International level; four were subsequently excluded leaving 689 for the current analysis.

Methods: Body composition was measured by bioimpedance in a sub-set of 234 (146 men and 88 women) and from these data a regression model was constructed that enabled ‘estimated’ lean body mass and fat mass to be calculated on all athletes. One way ANOVA was used to assess the differences in body composition and endocrine profiles between the sports and binary logistical regression to ascertain the characteristic of a given sport compared to the others.

Results: The results confirmed many suppositions such as basketball players being tall, weightlifters short and cross-country skiers light. The hormone profiles were more surprising with remarkably low testosterone and free T3 (tri-iodothyronine) in male powerlifters and high oestradiol, SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) and prolactin in male track and field athletes. Low testosterone concentrations were seen 25.4% of male elite competitors in 12 of the 15 sports and high testosterone concentrations in 4.8% of female elite athletes in 3 of the 8 sports tested. Interpretation of the results is more difficult; some of the differences between sports are at least partially due to differences in age of the athletes but the apparent differences between sports remain significant after adjusting for age. The prevalence of ‘hyperandrogenism’ (as defined by the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) and IOC (International Olympic Committee)) amongst this cohort of 231 elite female athletes was the highest so far recorded and the very high prevalence of ‘hypoandrogenism’ in elite male athletes a new finding.

Conclusions: It is unclear whether the differences in hormone profiles between sports is a reason why they become elite athletes in that sport or is a consequence of the arduous processes involved. For components of body composition we know that most have a major genetic component and this may well be true for endocrine profiles.

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Accepted/In Press date: 14 November 2017

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 415605
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/415605
PURE UUID: 070090dc-e587-410b-926d-6ff8e603f46f
ORCID for Richard I.G. Holt: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8911-6744
ORCID for Dankmar Bohning: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-0638-7106

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Date deposited: 16 Nov 2017 17:30
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 01:59

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Contributors

Author: Peter Sonksen
Author: Walailuck Boehning
Author: Nishan Guha
Author: David A. Cowan
Author: Christiaan Bartlett
Author: Dankmar Bohning ORCID iD

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