DHEA, DHEA-S and cortisol responses to acute exercise in older adults in relation to exercise training status and sex.

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The aim of the present study was to investigate resting measures of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEA-S) and cortisol, and the response and recovery of these hormones to acute exercise, in male and female older adults of different exercise training status. Participants were 49 community-dwelling older adults (23 females) aged between 60 and 77 years who were either sedentary (n = 14), moderately active (n = 14) or endurance trained (n = 21). Participants undertook an acute bout of exercise in the form of an incremental submaximal treadmill test. The exercise lasted on average 23 min 49 s (SD = 2 min 8 s) and participants reached 76.5% (SD = 5.44) of the predicted maximal heart rate. Blood samples were collected prior to exercise, immediately, and 1 h post-exercise. DHEA levels significantly increased immediately post-exercise; however, DHEA-S levels only significantly increased in females. Cortisol significantly decreased immediately post-exercise and 1 h post-exercise compared to pre-exercise. There were no significant differences in resting hormone levels or hormonal responses to exercise between training status groups. The findings suggest that exercise can stimulate DHEA production in older adults and that hormonal responses to exercise differ between male and female older adults.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-405
Number of pages11
JournalAge (Dordrecht, Netherlands)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2011