Myocardial Injury and Overload among Amateur Marathoners as Indicated by Changes in Concentrations of Cardiovascular Biomarkers

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Aug 26;17(17):6191. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17176191.


Marathons continue to grow in popularity among amateurs. However, the impact of intensive exercise on the amateur's cardiovascular system has not yet been studied. Analysis of the influence of the marathon on kinetics of biomarkers reflecting cardiac injury and overload may bring new insights into this issue. We investigated the effect of running a marathon on the concentrations of high sensitivity cardiac troponin I (hs-cTnI), heart-type fatty acid binding protein (H-FABP), N-terminal proatrial natriuretic peptide (NT-proANP), B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP), growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF-15) and galectin 3 (Gal-3) in the population of male amateur runners. The study included 35 amateur marathoners and followed 3 stages: S1-two weeks prior to the marathon, S2-at the finish line and S3-two weeks after. Blood samples were collected at each stage and analyzed for biomarkers and laboratory parameters. Concentrations of all studied biomarkers were significantly higher at S2, whereas at S3 did not differ significantly compared to S1. Running a marathon by an amateur causes an acute rise in biomarkers of cardiac injury and stress. Whether repetitive bouts of intensive exercise elicit long-term adverse cardiovascular effects in amateur marathoners needs further research.

Keywords: athlete’s heart; biomarkers; marathon; sports cardiology.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletes*
  • Athletic Performance / physiology
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena
  • Cardiovascular System
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Heart Injuries / blood
  • Heart Injuries / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Natriuretic Peptide, Brain / blood*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Running / physiology*
  • Troponin I / blood*


  • Biomarkers
  • Troponin I
  • Natriuretic Peptide, Brain