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Influence of demographic factors and sport type on growth hormone-responsive markers in elite athletes


CONTEXT: GH-responsive markers of the IGF system and of collagen turnover hold promise as the basis of a GH doping test. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of age, gender, body mass index (BMI), ethnicity, and sporting type on GH-responsive serum markers in a large cohort of elite athletes from different ethnic backgrounds. DESIGN: The study was designed as a cross-sectional study. Participants: A total of 1103 elite athletes (699 males, 404 females), aged 22.2 +/- 5.2 yr, from 12 countries and 10 major sporting categories participated in this study. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Serum IGF-I, IGF binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3), acid labile subunit (ALS), and collagen markers [N-terminal propeptide of type I procollagen (PINP), C-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen (ICTP), N-terminal propeptide of type III procollagen (PIIINP)] were measured. RESULTS: There was a significant negative correlation (r = -0.14 to -0.58, P < 0.0005) between age and each of the GH-responsive markers. Serum IGF-I, IGFBP-3, and ALS were all lower (P < 0.05), whereas the collagen markers PINP, ICTP, and PIIINP were higher (P < 0.05) in men than in women. Multiple regression analysis indicated that age, gender, BMI, and ethnicity accounted for 23-54% of total between-subject variability of the markers. Age and gender cumulatively accounted for 91% of the attributable variation of IGF-I and more than 80% for PINP, ICTP, and PIIINP. Gender exerted the greatest effect on ALS (48%), and BMI accounted for less than 12% attributable variation for all markers. The influence of ethnicity was greatest for IGFBP-3 and ALS; however, for the other markers, it accounted for less than 6% attributable variation. Analysis of 995 athletes indicated that sporting type contributed 5-19% of attributable variation. CONCLUSIONS: Age and gender were major determinants of variability of GH-responsive markers except for IGFBP-3 and ALS. Ethnicity is unlikely to confound the validity of a GH doping test based on IGF-I and these collagen markers.

Type Journal
ISBN 0021-972X (Print)
Authors Nelson, A. E.;Howe, C. J.;Nguyen, T. V.;Leung, K. C.;Trout, G. J.;Seibel, M. J.;Baxter, R. C.;Handelsman, D. J.;Kazlauskas, R.;Ho, K. K. :
Responsible Garvan Author (missing name)
Published Date 2006-01-01
Published Volume 91
Published Issue 11
Published Pages 4424-32
Status Published in-print
URL link to publisher's version
OpenAccess link to author's accepted manuscript version