Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Effect of a Marathon Run on Serum Lipoproteins, Creatine Kinase, and Lactate Dehydrogenase in Recreational Runners

Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Effect of a Marathon Run on Serum Lipoproteins, Creatine Kinase, and Lactate Dehydrogenase in Recreational Runners

Article excerpt

The objective of this study was to determine the effect of a marathon run on serum lipid and lipoprotein concentrations and serum muscle enzyme activities and follow their recovery after the run. These blood concentrations were measured before, immediately after, and serially after a marathon run in 15 male recreational runners. The triglyceride level was significantly elevated postrace, then fell 30% below baseline 1 day after the run, and returned to baseline after 1 week. Total cholesterol responded less dramatically but with a similar pattern. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol remained significantly elevated and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol was transiently reduced for 3 days after the run. The total cholesterol/high-density cholesterol ratio was significantly lowered for 3 days. Serum lactate dehydrogenase activity significantly doubled postrace and then declined but remained elevated for 2 weeks. Serum creatine kinase activity peaked 24 hr after the run, with a 15-fold rise, and returned to baseline after 1 week. The rise of these enzymes reflects mechanically damaged muscle cells leaking contents into the interstitial fluid. It is concluded that a prolonged strenuous exercise bout in recreational runners, such as a marathon, produces beneficial changes in lipid blood profiles that are significant for only 3 days. However, muscle damage is also evident for 1 week or more from the dramatic and long-lasting effect on enzyme levels. Laboratory values for these runners were outside normal ranges for some days after the race.

Key words: high-density cholesterol, low-density cholesterol, total cholesterol, triglyceride


Serum lipoprotein concentrations are valuable prognosticators of coronary heart disease. Participants in regular aerobic exercise training have lower concentrations of triglyceride (TG) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and higher levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), as compared to sedentary counterparts (Hartung, Foreyt, Mitchell, Vlasek, & Gotto, 1980). Previous investigations have also found increased HDL-C after endurance exercise (Davis, Bartoli, & Durstine, 1992; Thompson et al., 1991). However, there is little information on the recovery pattern of serum lipoproteins after a long-duration endurance exercise bout. Because marathon running has become popular among recreational runners whose primary goals are health, fitness, and a sense of well being, it seemed worthwhile to investigate the prolonged effects of marathon running.

Running for 42 km is stressful for cardiorespiratory functions and skeletal muscles, especially in recreational runners. An increase in plasma activities of various intracellular enzymes after endurance exercise is well established (Petibois, Cazorlar, Poortmans, & Deleris, 2002). It is also generally accepted that an increased level of serum or plasma creatine kinase (CK) activity is a good indicator of muscle disease (Arenas et al., 1988) or muscle damage after exercise (Apple & Rhodes, 1988). Several studies have estimated the amount of muscle damage from serial changes in CK activity in the blood after the trauma (Flynn et al., 1994; Hooper, Mackinnon, Howard, Gordon, & Bachmann, 1995; Van der Meulen, Kuipers, & Drukker, 1991).

Many individuals train for and take part in endurance sports, and laboratory measurements of lipoproteins and muscle damage markers in these individuals may deviate from reference ranges in the inactive population, thereby confounding disease diagnoses in these individuals (Kratz et al., 2002; Smith, Garbutt, Lopes, & Pedoe, 2004). Because endurance exercise results in a lipoprotein profile that appears to be beneficial and a muscle enzyme profile that appears to be detrimental, it would seem important to determine the time courses of these patterns.

The main purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of muscle damage induced by a marathon run by recreational runners on the muscle enzymes, CK, and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) in terms of their changes and recovery patterns. …

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