Effects of gender on exercise-induced growth hormone release

Laurie Wideman, Judy Y. Weltman, Niki Shah, Shannon Story, Johannes D. Veldhuis, Arthur Weltman

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81 Scopus citations


We examined gender differences in growth hormone (GH) secretion during rest and exercise. Eighteen subjects (9 women and 9 men) were tested on two occasions each [resting condition (R) and exercise condition (Ex)]. Blood was sampled at 10-min intervals from 0600 to 1200 and was assayed for GH by chemiluminescence. At R, women had a 3.69-fold greater mean calculated mass of GH secreted per burst compared with men (5.4 ± 1.0 vs. 1.7 ± 0.4 μg/l, respectively) and higher basal (interpulse) GH secretion rates, which resulted in greater GH production rates and serum GH area under the curve (AUC; 1,107 ± 194 vs. 595 ± 146 μg · l-1 · min, women vs. men; P = 0.04). Compared with R, Ex resulted in greater mean mass of GH secreted per burst, greater mean GH secretory burst amplitude, and greater GH AUC (1,196 ± 211 vs. 506 ± 90 μg · l-1 · min, Ex vs. R, respectively; P < 0.001). During Ex, women attained maximal serum GH concentrations significantly earlier than men (24 vs. 32 min after initiation of Ex, respectively; P = 0.004). Despite this temporal disparity, both genders had similar maximal serum GH concentrations. The change in AUC (adjusted for unequal baselines) was similar for men and women (593 ± 201 vs. 811 ± 268 μg · l-1 · min), but there were significant gender-by-condition interactive effects on GH secretory burst mass, pulsatile GH production rate, and maximal serum GH concentration. We conclude that, although women exhibit greater absolute GH secretion rates than men both at rest and during exercise, exercise evokes a similar incremental GH response in men and women. Thus the magnitude of the incremental secretory GH response is not gender dependent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1154-1162
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1999


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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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