Unraveling the steroid hormone response in male marathon runners: Correlation of running time with aldosterone and progesterone.J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol 2019; 195:105473JS
Marathon running is a physical and psychological stressor. We aimed to characterize the response of nine steroid hormones, which include estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, aldosterone, 17-hydroxyprogesterone, cortisone, androstenedione, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, to marathon running and their association with performance. Blood samples of sixty men (age: 49.3 ± 5.9 years) who participated in the Berlin marathon were collected within 3 days before, within 30 min and within 58 h after the end of the marathon. The nine steroid hormones in serum were quantified using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. The responses of nine steroid hormones to marathon running were characterized. Aldosterone (fold change: 8.5), progesterone (fold change: 6.6), and cortisol (fold change: 3.7) showed significant increases within 30 min after the marathon (all p < 0.0001). Estradiol but not testosterone increased in the male runners. Marathon running time was significantly related to aldosterone increase (beta=-0.238, p = 0.008) and progesterone increase (beta=-0.192, p = 0.036) in addition to body mass index, self-reported training distance, and age. Serum progesterone correlated with aldosterone and cortisol (r = 0.81 and r = 0.92, respectively, p < 0.001). Progesterone, as a precursor hormone, is increased after the completion of marathon running in association with the increase of aldosterone and cortisol. These findings reveal a contribution of progesterone during the response to the psycho-physical stress of marathon running in males.