Brief, high intensity exercise alters serum ghrelin and growth hormone concentrations but not IGF-I, IGF-II or IGF-I bioactivity

Growth Horm IGF Res. 2010 Aug;20(4):289-94. doi: 10.1016/j.ghir.2010.03.004. Epub 2010 May 15.


Exercise stimulates growth hormone (GH) release, but there are conflicting reports regarding the acute effects of exercise on circulating ghrelin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) concentrations. This investigation examined (1) the effect of a single sprint on circulating GH, ghrelin and IGF concentrations as well as a marker of IGF-I bioactivity, and (2) whether the number of muscle actions performed during a sprint influences these responses. Seven healthy men completed 3 trials in a random order. In two exercise trials they performed a single 30-s sprint on a cycle ergometer against a resistance equivalent to either 7% (FAST) or 9% (SLOW) of their body mass. In the other they rested in the laboratory (CON). Blood samples were taken pre-, immediately post-, 10 and 30 min post-exercise, and at equivalent times in the CON trial. Total ghrelin concentrations declined after the sprint and were significantly lower after 30 min of recovery than they were pre-exercise (pre-exercise vs. 30 min; FAST, 0.62 (0.19) vs. 0.49 (0.16) microg/L, P<0.001; SLOW, 0.59 (0.15) vs. 0.47 (0.13) microg/L, P<0.001). GH concentrations increased in both exercise trials and were greater in the FAST than the SLOW trial. Serum concentrations of total IGF-I, free IGF-I, total IGF-II, and IGF-I bioactivity did not change after sprinting. In conclusion, sprint exercise suppresses total ghrelin concentrations and stimulates GH release but does not alter IGF concentrations or bioactivity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Ghrelin / blood*
  • Human Growth Hormone / blood*
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II / metabolism*
  • Male


  • Ghrelin
  • Human Growth Hormone
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II