Influence of muscle strength and total work on exercise-induced plasma growth hormone isoforms in women

J Sci Med Sport. 2003 Sep;6(3):295-306. doi: 10.1016/s1440-2440(03)80023-3.


The purpose of this investigation was to determine the influence of physical strength and the ability to do more total work on human growth hormone (GH) variants to a heavy resistance exercise protocol in untrained women. From a distribution of 100 healthy, untrained women, the strongest 10 women (S) and the weakest 10 women (W) were compared for GH responses pre- and post an acute heavy resistance exercise test (AHRET, 6 sets of 10 RM squats, 2 minutes rest between sets). Blood samples were obtained pre-exercise and immediately post-exercise and subsequently analysed in total as well as fractionated by Sephacryl S-100R column chromatography into three molecular weight size classes: fraction A: > 60 kD, fraction B: 30-60 kD, fraction C: < 30 kD. For each total sample as well as each fraction, immunoreactive GH was measured via the Nichols IRMA, while bioactive GH was measured via the hypox rat tibial line bioassay and Diagnostic Systems Laboratory's immunofunctional GH ELISA. No exercise-induced changes or differences between groups were observed in the tibial line bioassay. However, the S group displayed a significantly higher pre-exercise resting value in the total fraction than the W group. Conversely, the W group exhibited a significantly higher pre-exercise value in the smaller molecular weight fraction C. With regards to the immunofunctional and immunoreactive assays, the total fraction, fraction A, and fraction B demonstrated significant (P < or = 0.05) exercise-induced increases in both the S and W group despite no group differences. For the Nichols and immunofunctional assays significant exercise-induced changes were observed in the smaller molecular weight C fraction in the W group but not the S group. However, the S group displayed a significantly higher pre-exercise value in fraction C relative to the W group. These data demonstrate for the first time that differences exist in the GH molecular weight variants between strong and weak untrained women, with the lower molecular weight variants seemingly less responsive to greater amounts of exercise in stronger women, thus suggesting differential regulation of GH molecular weight variants during resistance exercise due to pre-existing physical parameters.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Assay
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Growth Hormone / blood*
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Protein Isoforms / blood
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Tibia / physiology
  • Weight Lifting / physiology*


  • Protein Isoforms
  • Growth Hormone