Bouts of exercise elicit discordant testosterone: Cortisol ratios in runners and non-runners



Publication Details

De Luccia, T., Natali, J., Moreira, A., Chaui-Berlinck, J. & Bicudo, J. (2018). Bouts of exercise elicit discordant testosterone: Cortisol ratios in runners and non-runners. Archives of Endocrinology and Metabolism, 62 (3), 325-331.


Objective: The testosterone:cortisol ratio (T:C) is suggested to be used in order to examine whether physical exercise generates either a "catabolic environment" or an "anabolic environment". The present study aims to evaluate the acute time-course profile of cortisol and testosterone due to an episode of physical exercise. A biphasic profile in the T:C ratio response was hypothesized.

Materials and methods: Morning sessions of treadmill running at two different intensities (Heart Rate at 65% and 80% of the maximum cardiac reserve) were performed by 6 male non-runners (NR) and 12 trained male runners (subdivided into trained runners T1 and T2). Cortisol and testosterone were measured in saliva. NR and T1 ran for 30 minutes at both intensities, and T2 ran for 46 minutes (± 4.1) at 65% and 42 minutes (± 3.5) at 80%.

Results: In the 80% heart rate target, both groups of runners showed the biphasic time-profile, while the non-runners group did not. However, at the 65% level, none of the groups presented the hypothesized biphasic response.

Conclusions: A biphasic time-profile in the testosterone:cortisol ratio can be seen in short-bout, high intensity exercise (treadmill running) during the morning in men trained for this specific physical activity.

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