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Lipoprotein(a) in endurance athletes, power athletes, and sedentary controls


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: August 1996 - Volume 28 - Issue 8 - p 962-966
Clinical Sciences: Clinically Relevant Studies

Elevated concentrations of lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] have been shown to be an independent risk factor for atherosclerotic disease. Physical activity and physical fitness have been shown to improve lipoprotein metabolism and reduce the risk of coronary artery disease. Studies on the influence of physical activity and physical fitness on Lp(a) levels including a large number of endurance as well as power athletes have not been performed before. Therefore, we determined parameters of physical fitness (maximal oxygen consumption), physical activity, and lipoproteins in 105 endurance athletes, 57 power athletes, and 87 sedentary young men. As expected, we found that endurance athletes with a good physical fitness had significantly higher concentrations of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol than power athletes and sedentary controls. Regarding mean Lp(a) levels (rocket immunoelectrophoresis), however, there were no significant differences between endurance athletes, power athletes, and sedentary controls. Even when including only those with Lp(a) values >10 mg · dl-1, no differences were observed between the groups. These findings indicate that intensive training over years and good aerobic fitness improve the ratio of low-density lipoprotein to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol but have no or only minor effects on Lp(a) concentrations.

Medizinische Universitätsklinik, Abt. Rehabilitative und Präventive Sportmedizin, Freiburg, GERMANY

Submitted for publication October 1995.

Accepted for publication April 1996.

The profound statistical advice of D. Grathwohl is kindly appreciated.

M.Halle is a scholar of the German Heart Foundation (Deutsche Herzstiftung, Frankfurt/Main, Germany).

Address for correspondence: Dr. med. Martin Halle, Medizinische Universitätsklinik, Abt. Rehabilitative und Präventive Sportmedizin, Hugstetter Str. 55, D-79106 Freiburg, Germany.

©1996The American College of Sports Medicine