Glucocorticoid response to exercise as measured by serum and salivary cortisol

  • R. Stupnicki
  • Z. Obminski


Serum and salivary cortisol concentrations were studied in 78 elite athletes engaged in different sports, by subjecting them to high-intensity laboratory exercise. The mean difference in the pre-exercise cortisol concentrations in the seven groups studied were more marked in serum (from 311 to 768 nmol · l−1) than in saliva (from 17.9 to 22.7 nmol · 1−1, only one group reaching 40 nmol ·−1). Judging from the correlation coefficients based on total variances, the post-/pre-exercise differences in cortisol concentrations in serum depended chiefly on pre-exercise values, while those in saliva tended to depend more on the postexercise concentrations. The coefficients of correlation between that difference and either the pre- or postexercise values were −0.71 and 0.47, respectively, for serum, and −0.51 and 0.58, respectively, for saliva. This would suggest that salivary cortisol concentration might be a more suitable variable for assessing glucocorticoid activity in exercise than serum cortisol concentration, probably being less sensitive to pre-exercise emotional state.

Key words

Salivary cortisol Serum cortisol Exercise 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Stupnicki
    • 1
  • Z. Obminski
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EndocrinologyInstitute of Sport, Trylogii 2Warsaw 45Poland

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