Purpose: To test the hypothesis that the appearance of disulfide-linked growth hormone (GH) aggregates during and after an acute resistance exercise test (ARET) in men could be influenced by chronic physical training.
Methods: Fourteen men (28 ± 1 yr) underwent two different 8-wk physical training programs designed to improve military performance. Before and after chronic training, subjects performed an ARET (six sets of 10 repetition-maximum squat) and had venous blood drawn pre-, mid-, and post-ARET (0, 15, and 30 min postexercise). To determine whether GH molecules were disulfide-linked, serum samples were chemically reduced via glutathione (GSH). Serum immunoreactive GH (IRGH) and immunofunctional GH (IFGH) concentrations were determined using two specific immunoassays, in nonreduced (−GSH) and reduced (+GSH) states. Data were analyzed using repeated-measures ANOVA.
Results: No differences were observed in the GH responses of the two training programs; therefore, training group data were combined for analysis. GSH reduction increased the mean GH signal (−GSH: 1.4 ± 0.3 μg·L−1 vs +GSH: 1.7 ± 0.3 μg·L−1; P < 0.01) only when quantifying IRGH. Post hoc testing indicated that serum contained IRGH disulfide-linked GH aggregates at the mid, 0-, 15-, and 30-min posttime points of the ARET (P < 0.01), whereas GSH reduction did not affect IFGH concentrations. Chronic physical training had no effect on the ARET-induced GH response.
Conclusion: Acute resistance exercise leads to the appearance of disulfide-linked IRGH aggregates, and this response does not appear to be affected by 8 wk of chronic physical training. The physiological significance of increased proportions of disulfide-linked GH aggregates postexercise remains uncertain; however, structural alterations in GH moieties after acute exercise may represent important regulatory steps in mediating GH biological activity at selected target tissues.