Some physiological changes in female athletes during and after exercise : investigating the use of a new, low-invasive sampling method (electrosonophoresis) : a thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Exercise Physiology at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

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Massey University. Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health
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The purpose of this study was to monitor cardiovascular and endocrine changes in sedentary and training females during a six week period, and to assess the accuracy of a new, low-invasive sampling methodology (electrosonophoresis). Changes in fitness were measured using oxygen consumption (VO2). The impact on VO2 of sleep quality, sleep duration and alcohol consumption (recorded in sleep logs) was assessed. Cortisol, testosterone and growth hormone levels in plasma were monitored for acute changes following fitness tests, and chronic changes related to training, oral contraceptive use or alcohol consumption. Hormone concentrations in blood and saliva samples were compared to those in interstitial fluid (obtained using electrosonophoresis) to investigate the accuracy of electrosonophoresis. Mean VO2 increased by 3.3 ± 1.3mL/kg/min between Week 1 and Week 5 and the changes detected in heart rate (HR) during the fitness tests suggest that aerobic fitness of the training participants increased across the study. No significant associations between sleep quality, sleep duration or alcohol consumption and VO2 were detected. No acute changes in plasma hormone concentrations following fitness tests were detected. No chronic changes in plasma cortisol or testosterone concentrations were detected, although a non-significant trend towards increased plasma GH levels in training participants was detected. Resting plasma cortisol levels were significantly lower in oral contraceptive users compared with non-users. Plasma testosterone and growth hormone levels were unaffected by oral contraceptive use. Alcohol consumption had no acute detectable effects on plasma concentrations of the three hormones. Plasma testosterone levels were higher in participants who abstained from alcohol, and higher plasma growth hormone levels were detected in heavy drinkers. These results contrast with published reports. Concentrations of the three hormones in interstitial fluid and plasma exhibited highly significant positive correlations (r2 > 0.98) with an interstitial fluid:plasma concentration ratio of about 1:10 in each case. Equations to predict plasma concentrations of cortisol, testosterone and growth hormone from interstitial fluid concentrations have been derived. The electrosonophoretic method apparently provides an accurate, painless, low-invasive method for prediction of the plasma levels of these three hormones. This technology has far-reaching implications for research in human, animal and biomedical fields.
Cortisol, Growth hormone, Testosterone, Athletes, Blood