Impact of acute exercise intensity on pulsatile growth hormone release in men

Cathy J. Pritzlaff, Laurie Wideman, Judy Y. Weltman, Robert D. Abbott, Margaret E. Gutgesell, Mark L. Hartman, Johannes D. Veldhuis, Arthur Weltman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Scopus citations


To investigate the effects of exercise intensity on growth hormone (GH) release, 10 male subjects were tested on 6 randomly ordered occasions [1 control condition (C), 5 exercise conditions (Ex)]. Serum GH concentrations were measured in samples obtained at 10-min intervals between 0700 and 0900 (baseline) and 0900 and 1300 (exercise+recovery). Integrated GH concentrations (IGHC) were calculated by trapezoidal reconstruction. During Ex subjects exercised for 30 min (0900-0930) at one of the following intensities [normalized to the lactate threshold (LT)]: 25 and 75% of the difference between LT and rest (0.25LT and 0.75LT, respectively), at LT, and at 25 and 75% of the difference between LT and peak (1.25LT and 1.75LT, respectively). No differences were observed among conditions for baseline IGHC. Exercise+recovery IGHC (mean ± SE: C = 250 ± 60; 0.25LT = 203 ± 69; 0.75LT = 448 ± 125; LT = 452 ± 119; 1.25LT = 512 ± 121; 1.75LT = 713 ± 115 μg · l-1 · min-1) increased linearly with increasing exercise intensity (P < 0.05). Deconvolution analysis revealed that increasing exercise intensity resulted in a linear increase in the mass of GH secreted per pulse and GH production rate [production rate increased from 16.5 ± 4.5 (C) to 32.1 ± 5.2 μg · distribution volume-1 · min-1 (1.75LT), P < 0.05], with no changes in GH pulse frequency or half-life of elimination. We conclude that the GH secretory response to exercise is related to exercise intensity in a linear dose-response pattern in young men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)498-504
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999


  • Endocrinology
  • Lactate threshold
  • Pituitary
  • Somatotropin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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