European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 91, Issue 1, pp 15–21 | Cite as

Plasma glucose, insulin and catecholamine responses to a Wingate test in physically active women and men

  • Sophie Vincent
  • Phanélie Berthon
  • Hassane Zouhal
  • Elie Moussa
  • Michel Catheline
  • Danièle Bentué-Ferrer
  • Arlette Gratas-Delamarche
Original Article


The influence of gender on the glucose response to exercise remains contradictory. Moreover, to our knowledge, the glucoregulatory responses to anaerobic sprint exercise have only been studied in male subjects. Hence, the aim of the present study was to compare glucoregulatory metabolic (glucose and lactate) and hormonal (insulin, catecholamines and estradiol only in women) responses to a 30-s Wingate test, in physically active students. Eight women [19.8 (0.7) years] and eight men [22.0 (0.6) years] participated in a 30-s Wingate test on a bicycle ergometer. Plasma glucose, insulin, and catecholamine concentrations were determined at rest, at the end of both the warm-up and the exercise period and during the recovery (5, 10, 20, and 30 min). Results showed that the plasma glucose increase in response to a 30-s Wingate test was significantly higher in women than in men [0.99 (0.15) versus 0.33 (0.20) mmol l−1 respectively, P<0.05]. Plasma insulin concentrations peaked at 10 min post-exercise and the increase between this time of recovery and the end of the warm-up was also significantly higher in women than in men [14.7 (2.9) versus 2.3 (1.9) pmol l−1 respectively, P<0.05]. However, there was no gender difference concerning the catecholamine response. The study indicates a gender-related difference in post-exercise plasma glucose and insulin responses after a supramaximal exercise.


Catecholamines Gender Glucose Insulin Wingate test 



The authors thank nurses Dominique Paul and Marie-Thérèse Gougeon, and laboratory technician Yolande Briand for technical assistance, thank Kathy Stephen and Michelle Jester for English language correction and thank all the volunteers for their participation in this study. The experiments used in this article complied with the current laws of France.


  1. Astrand I (1960) Work capacity in men and women with a special reference to age. Acta Physiologica Scand S149Google Scholar
  2. Bosco C, Tihanyl J, Rivalta L, Parlato G, Tranquilli C, Pulvirenti G, Foti C, Viru M, Viru A (1996) Hormonal responses in strenuous jumping effort. Jpn J Physiol 46(1):93–98PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Brooks S, Nevill ME, Meleagros L, Lakomy HK, Hall GM, Bloom SR, Williams C (1990) The hormonal responses to repetitive brief maximal exercise in humans. Eur J Appl Physiol 60(2):144–148Google Scholar
  4. Carter SL, Rennie C, Tarnopolsky MA (2001) Substrate utilization during endurance exercise in men and women after endurance training. Am J Physiol 280(6):E898–E907Google Scholar
  5. Coderre L, Kandror KV, Vallega G, Pilch PF (1995) Identification and characterization of an exercise-sensitive pool of glucose transporters in skeletal muscle. J Biol Chem 270(46):27584–27588CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Coker RH, Krishna MG, Lacy DB, Bracy DP, Wasserman DH (1997a) Role of hepatic alpha- and beta-adrenergic receptor stimulation on hepatic glucose production during heavy exercise. Am J Physiol 273(5 Pt 1):E831–E838PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Coker RH, Krishna MG, Lacy DB, Allen EJ, Wasserman DH (1997b) Sympathetic drive to liver and nonhepatic splanchnic tissue during heavy exercise. J Appl Physiol 82(4):1244–1249Google Scholar
  8. Coker RH, Simoneau L, Bülow J, Wasserman DH, Kjäer M (2001) Stimulation of splanchnic glucose production during exercise in humans contains a glucagon-independent component. Am J Physiol 280:E918–E927Google Scholar
  9. Collomp K, Ahmaidi S, Audran M, Chanal JL, Prefaut C (1991) Effects of caffeine ingestion on performance and anaerobic metabolism during the Wingate Test. Int J Sports Med 12(5):439–443PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Delamarche A, Delamarche P (1992) Physiologie féminine et aptitude physique. Sci Motric 16:35–45Google Scholar
  11. Durnin JV, Rahaman MM (1967) The assessment of the amount of fat in the human body from measurements of skinfold thickness. Br J Nutr 21(3):681–689PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Esbjörnsson-Liljedahl M, Sundberg CJ, Norman B, Jansson E (1999) Metabolic response in type I and type II muscle fibers during a 30-s cycle sprint in men and women. J Appl Physiol 87(4):1326–1332PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Hautecouverture M, Slama G, Assan R, Tchobroutsky G (1974) Sex related diurnal variations in venous blood glucose and plasma insulin levels. Effects of estrogens in men. Diabetologia 10(6):725–730PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Helge JW, Stallknecht B, Pedersen BK, Galbo H, Kiens B, Richter EA (2003) The effect of graded exercise on IL-6 release and glucose uptake in human skeletal muscle. J Physiol (Lond) 546(Pt 1):299–305Google Scholar
  15. Howlett K, Febbraio M, Hargreaves M (1999a) Glucose production during strenuous exercise in humans: role of epinephrine. Am J Physiol 276(6 Pt 1):E1130–E1135PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Howlett K, Galbo H, Lorentsen J, Bergeron R, Zimmerman-Belsing T, Bulow J, Feldt-Rasmussen U, Kjaer M (1999b) Effect of adrenaline on glucose kinetics during exercise in adrenalectomised humans. J Physiol (Lond) 519 (Pt 3):911–921Google Scholar
  17. Jacob C, Zouhal H, Vincent S, Gratas-Delamarche A, Berthon PM, Bentue-Ferrer D, Delamarche P (2002) Training status (endurance or sprint) and catecholamine response to the Wingate test in women. Int J Sports Med 23(5):342–347CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Kjäer M (1998) Hepatic glucose production during exercise. Adv Exp Med Biol 441:117–127PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Kjäer M, Farrell PA, Christensen NJ, Galbo H (1986) Increased epinephrine response and inaccurate glucoregulation in exercising athletes. J Appl Physiol 61(5):1693–1700PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Koubi HE, Desplanche D, Gabrielle C, Cottet-Emard JM, Semporer B, Favier R (1991) Exercise endurance and fuel utilisation: a reevaluation of the effects of fasting. Appl Physiol 70:1337–1343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kreisman SH, Ah Mew N, Arsenault M (2000) Epinephrine infusion during moderate-intensity exercise increases glucose production and uptake. Am J Physiol 278:E949–E957Google Scholar
  22. Kreisman SH, Ah Mew N, Halter JB, Vranic M, Marliss EB (2001) Norepinephrine infusion during moderate-intensity exercise increases glucose production and uptake. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 86:2118–2124PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Marliss EB, Simantirakis E, Miles PD, Purdon C, Gougeon R, Field CJ, Halter JB, Vranic M (1991) Glucoregulatory and hormonal responses to repeated bouts of intense exercise in normal male subjects. J Appl Physiol 71(3):924–933PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Marliss EB, Kreisman SH, Manzon A, Halter JB, Vranic M, Nessim SJ (2000) Gender differences in glucoregulatory responses to intense exercise. J Appl Physiol 88(2):457–466PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Matute ML, Kalkhoff RK (1973) Sex steroid influence on hepatic gluconeogenesis and glucogen formation. Endocrinology 92(3):762–768PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Moussa E, Zouhal H, Vincent S, Delamarche P, Bentué-Ferrer D, Gratas-Delamarche A (2003) Effect of sprint duration (6 s or 30 s) on plasma glucose regulation in untrained male subjects. J Sports Med Phys Fitness (in press)Google Scholar
  27. Nevill ME, Holmyard DJ, Hall GM, Allsop P, van Oosterhout A, Burrin JM, Nevill AM (1996) Growth hormone responses to treadmill sprinting in sprint- and endurance-trained athletes. Eur J Appl Physiol 72(5–6):460–467Google Scholar
  28. Pullinen T, Nicol C, MacDonald E, Komi PV (1999) Plasma catecholamine responses to four resistance exercise tests in men and women. Eur J Appl Physiol 80(2):125–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Richter EA, Derave W, Wojtaszewski JF (2001) Glucose, exercise and insulin: emerging concepts. J Physiol (Lond) 535(Pt 2):313–322Google Scholar
  30. Roy JY, Bongbele J, Cardin S, Brisson GR, Lavoie JM (1991) Effects of supramaximal exercise on blood glucose levels during a subsequent exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol 63(1):48–51Google Scholar
  31. Schnabel A, Kindermann W, Steinkraus V, Salas-Fraire O, Biro G (1984) Metabolic and hormonal responses to exhaustive supramaximal running with and without beta-adrenergic blockade. Eur J Appl Physiol 52(2):214–218Google Scholar
  32. Selmi A, Hautecouverture M, Basdevant A, Slama G, Tchobroutsky G (1976) Sex differences in the blood glucose fall induced by short fasts (in French). Diabete Metab 2(4):195–198PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Sigal RJ, Purdon C, Bilinski D, Vranic M, Halter JB, Marliss EB (1994) Glucoregulation during and after intense exercise: effects of beta-blockade. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 78(2):359–366Google Scholar
  34. Sigal RJ, Fisher S, Halter JB, Vranic M, Marliss EB (1996) The roles of catecholamines in glucoregulation in intense exercise as defined by the islet cell clamp technique. Diabetes 45(2):148–156PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Sigal RJ, Fisher SJ, Manzon A, Morais JA, Halter JB, Vranic M, Marliss EB (2000) Glucoregulation during and after intense exercise: effects of alpha-adrenergic blockade. Metabolism 49(3):386–394Google Scholar
  36. Stokes KA, Nevill ME, Hall GM, Lakomy HK (2002) Growth hormone responses to repeated maximal cycle ergometer exercise at different pedaling rates. J Appl Physiol 92(2):602–608Google Scholar
  37. Tarnopolsky LJ, MacDougall JD, Atkinson SA, Tarnopolsky MA, Sutton JR (1990) Gender differences in substrate for endurance exercise. J Appl Physiol 68(1):302–308PubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Tarnopolsky MA, Atkinson SA, Phillips SM, MacDougall JD (1995) Carbohydrate loading and metabolism during exercise in men and women. J Appl Physiol 78(4):1360–1368PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Tarnopolsky MA, Bosman M, Macdonald JR, Vandeputte D, Martin J, Roy BD (1997) Postexercise protein-carbohydrate and carbohydrate supplements increase muscle glycogen in men and women. J Appl Physiol 83(6):1877–1883PubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Tchobroutsky G (1991) Blood glucose levels in diabetic and non-diabetic subjects. Diabetologia 34(2):67–73PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Van Beaumont W, Strand JC, Petrofsky JS, Hipskind SG, Greenleaf JE (1973) Changes in total plasma content of electrolytes and proteins with maximal exercise. J Appl Physiol 34(1):102–106Google Scholar
  42. Vandewalle H, Peres G, Heller J, Monod H (1985) All out anaerobic capacity tests on cycle ergometers. A comparative study on men and women. Eur J Appl Physiol 54(2):222–229Google Scholar
  43. Zouhal H, Gratas-Delamarche A, Bentue-Ferrer D, Rannou F, Granier P, Delamarche P (1998) Réponses des catécholamines plasmatiques à l’exercice supramaximal chez des endurants. Sci Sports 13:112–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sophie Vincent
    • 1
    • 4
  • Phanélie Berthon
    • 1
    • 4
  • Hassane Zouhal
    • 1
    • 4
  • Elie Moussa
    • 1
    • 4
  • Michel Catheline
    • 2
    • 4
  • Danièle Bentué-Ferrer
    • 3
  • Arlette Gratas-Delamarche
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Physiologie et de Biomécanique de l’Exercice MusculaireUFRAPS Rennes 2Rennes CedexFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire de biochimie médicale, Faculté de MédecineUniversité de Rennes 1Rennes CedexFrance
  3. 3.Laboratoire de Pharmacologie, Faculté de MédecineUniversité de Rennes 1Rennes CedexFrance
  4. 4.GIS Sciences du MouvementUFR.APSRennes CedexFrance

Personalised recommendations