Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New research provides clues as to why elite rowers have bigger, stronger hearts

08.08.2008
Scientists have unravelled a potential mechanism for how top-level rowers develop enlarged strengthened hearts as a result of long-term intensive training.

The research, published in the August edition of Clinical Endocrinology suggests a causal link between naturally occurring hormone levels and strengthening of the heart muscle in professional rowers. Elite rowers were found to have higher levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) compared to healthy sedentary volunteers. In these athletes, IGF-1 values correlate with enlargement and strengthening of heart muscle cells.

Researchers, led by Dr Giovanni Vitale (University of Milan, Italian Auxologic Institute, Italy) and Professor Gaetano Lombardi (University of Naples Federico II, Italy), measured circulating IGF-1 levels in blood samples from 19 top-level male rowers and 19 age-matched healthy sedentary controls. IGF-1 is a hormone that is produced by the liver in response to growth hormone stimulation.

Each subject had their cardiac structure and function measured using standard echocardiography and ‘pulsed Tissue Doppler’, a more effective way of accessing and recording activity, particularly from the right side of the heart. For the rowers, examinations took place during a period of intense physical training, but at least 24 hours following the last athletic activity.

The rowers had higher serum IGF-1 levels compared to controls, but in both groups IGF-1 levels were within the normal range. The rowers’ hearts were also much larger, showing increased cavity dimensions, increased wall thickness, and enhanced muscle function, in both the left and right sides of the heart, compared to controls. In the rowers, IGF-1 levels correlated significantly with several echocardiographic parameters of myocardial contractility. Importantly, these associations remained significant when adjusted for age and heart rate. There were no significant differences in terms of height, weight and blood pressure between the two groups, although as expected, the rowers had significantly lower resting heart rates compared to the control group.

This is the first study to show an independent association between IGF-1 levels and remodelling of the right side of the heart in competitive rowers, and provides clues as to how the body responds and adapts to prolonged physical exercise. IGF-1 promotes muscle growth, and is known to be activated during exercise; IGF-1 levels often remain elevated following a training period1. This research provides a potential mechanism for cardiac remodelling in rowers, whereby an increase in IGF-1 may activate biochemical pathways, which trigger heart muscle growth, resulting in increased cardiac strength and output.

Researcher Dr Giovanni Vitale said:

“Cardiac hypertrophy, or enlargement of the heart muscle cells, is a hallmark of top athletes, especially rowers, and is a physical adaptation to increased cardiac load during prolonged periods of exercise. Our results show both the left and right sides of the rowers’ hearts are larger, and function at an enhanced capacity compared to those of the controls. The causes of this strengthening of athletes’ heart muscle are not completely clear. It could be due to the production of growth factors (such as IGF-1) during training. In fact, physical exercise is associated with cardiac haemodynamic changes (pressure and volume overload) able to stimulate the production of growth factors by stretching myocardial fibers.”

“To this end, we investigated levels of the hormone insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), and found significantly increased levels in the rowers compared to the control group, although in both groups IGF-1 levels were within the normal range. Furthermore, higher IGF-1 levels in the rowers’ bloodstream correlated significantly with better heart performance.

These results highlight a possible biochemical mechanism for cardiac hypertrophy in elite rowers and suggest a potentially beneficial role for IGF-1 in the remodelling of the heart muscle. This could mean that naturally increased production of IGF-1, occurring as an adaptation to prolonged training, influences biochemical processes that control contraction of the heart muscle in rowers. Further research is now needed to determine the exact relationship between higher production of IGF-1 and cardiac output in elite rowers.”

Rebecca Dixon | alfa
Further information:
http://www.endocrinology.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Scientists learn more about how gene linked to autism affects brain
19.06.2018 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

nachricht Overdosing on Calcium
19.06.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

Im Focus: Photoexcited graphene puzzle solved

A boost for graphene-based light detectors

Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Carbon nanotube optics provide optical-based quantum cryptography and quantum computing

19.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

How to track and trace a protein: Nanosensors monitor intracellular deliveries

19.06.2018 | Life Sciences

New material for splitting water

19.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>