Effects of long-distance running on serum bilirubin

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1995 Dec;27(12):1590-4.


This study was undertaken to determine the effects of long-distance running on serum bilirubin fractions. Thirteen male ultramarathon runners participating in a 100-km race volunteered for the study. Venous blood samples were obtained shortly before and immediately after the race. Decreased serum haptoglobin levels (-66%) indicated the presence of hemolysis. After accounting for plasma-volume loss, significant post-race increases were found for creatine kinase (+20-fold), creatine kinase-MB (+252%), alanine aminotransferase (+42%), aspartate aminotransferase (+193%), gammaglutamyl transpeptidase (+56%), and glutamate dehydrogenase (+58%) serum activities, suggesting that running causes alterations of both muscle and liver tissues. Serum concentration of total bilirubin was significantly elevated (+106%) following the race, with changes corresponding to both unconjugated (+96%) and conjugated esters (+283%) of the pigment and significant increases in the ratio of esterified to total bilirubin. Our data show that long-distance running causes increases in the different serum bilirubin fractions which can be accounted for both hemolysis and hepatic disturbances.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / blood
  • Bilirubin / blood*
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • Glutamate Dehydrogenase / blood
  • Haptoglobins / analysis
  • Hemolysis
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Plasma Volume
  • Running / physiology*
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase / blood


  • Haptoglobins
  • Isoenzymes
  • Glutamate Dehydrogenase
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases
  • Alanine Transaminase
  • Creatine Kinase
  • Bilirubin