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Somatotrope Pituitary Function in Professional Soccer Players
received 01 August 2017
first decision 10 September 2017
accepted 15 September 2017
17 November 2017 (online)
Background and objective Soccer is associated with repetitive head trauma, which, as it is known from sports like football and boxing, can result in hypopituitarism. Gonadotropins and GH are the most common pituitary hormones to become deficient. GH deficiency is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular mortality and has negative influence on body mass index, visceral fat mass, insulin resistance and sensitivity, bone mineral density and inflammatory markers. Therefore the aim of this study was to evaluate the somatotrope pituitary function in professional soccer players.
Research design and methods This clinical study included 15 male, professional soccer players with at least 10 years of professional training. Basal hormonal parameters of the pituitary axis were obtained from the participants. To assess GH-IGF-I axis, glucagon stimulation tests were used. Rise in growth hormone during glucagon test was analyzed and the prevalence of newly diagnosed hormone deficiencies was evaluated.
Results Mean age of all participants was 31±10 years. None of the 15 soccer players had GH deficiency. Mean rising factor of GH after stimulation with glucagon was 100 in all participants. We did not find signs of ACTH, TSH or LH/FSH deficiency in any player.
Conclusions In this small collective of soccer players we did not find playing soccer to be a risk factor for the development of GH-deficiency. According to our data screening for somatotrope deficiency is not necessary. Further investigations in larger cohorts are needed.
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