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Acute resistance exercise results in catecholaminergic rather than hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis stimulation during exercise in young men

Ioannis Fatouros, Athanasios Chatzinikolaou, George Paltoglou, Anatoli Petridou, Alexandra Avloniti, Athanasios Jamurtas, Evgenios Goussetis, Asimina Mitrakou, Vassilis Mougios, Christina Lazaropoulou, Alexandra Margeli, Ioannis Papassotiriou, George Mastorakos
Stress: the International Journal on the Biology of Stress 2010, 13 (6): 461-8
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Exercise is a paradigm of a stress situation. The adaptive response to stressors comprises the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and components of the autonomic sympathetic system. An aseptic inflammatory reaction is triggered by exercise, involving the stimulation of the so-called proinflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα), interleukin-1 (IL-1), and IL-6. The anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-2, IL-8, and IL-10 increase moderately during resistance exercise. To investigate the effect of a short bout of resistance exercise on components of the stress and inflammatory responses during the exercise period, 17 healthy, young, untrained male volunteers were studied during 3 equal consecutive cycles of resistance exercises of 30 min total duration. Blood sampling was performed at baseline and at the end of each cycle. Lactate, cortisol, catecholamines (epinephrine, norepinephrine), IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, epidermal growth factor (EGF), and monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) were measured at all time-points. Circulating levels of catecholamines and lactate increased significantly (P < 0.05) whereas cortisol did not. During the time course of the exercise, circulating levels of TNFα, IL-2, and EGF increased, whereas MCP-1 decreased significantly. IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10 levels did not change significantly. Statistically significant positive linear correlations were found between areas under the curve for increases in levels of IL-2 and TNFα, TNFα and cortisol, as well as epinephrine and norepinephrine. We conclude that acute resistance exercise results in catecholaminergic, but not HPA axis stimulation during exercise, in parallel with a mild inflammatory reaction. The absence of a major inflammatory reaction and of a cortisol increase during acute resistance exercise makes this a good candidate for the exercise of sedentary individuals.

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