Objective: This study examined the effect of hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) use on the incremental GH response to aerobic exercise in postmenopausal women and established whether racial differences in the GH response were seen at rest and in response to exercise.
Methods: 13 white (n = 6, HRT; n = 7, no HRT) and seven black women (no HRT) were studied on two occasions, a control day and an exercise day (30 min at 70% VO2max on a cycle ergometer). Blood was sampled every 10 min for a 4-h period and analyzed for GH using an ultrasensitive chemiluminescent assay.
Results: The mean 4-h GH concentration was higher on both study days in the HRT women than the non-HRT users. The integrated GH concentrations were greater in the HRT women both at rest and in response to exercise (rest, 352 ± 53 min μg l−1; exercise, 711 ± 57 min μg l−1; P < 0.01) than in the non-HRT women (rest, 157 ± 87 min μg l−1; exercise, 248 ± 94 min μg l−1). The incremental GH response was greater in the HRT users than in the non-HRT women (358 ± 130 versus 90.8 ± 94 min μg l−1, respectively; P < 0.05). GH-production rate during the 4-h period was greater in the HRT women than in the non-HRT women (P < 0.01), due to an increase in the GH mass secreted/pulse (P < 0.05), with no change in GH pulse number or GH half-life. No racial differences in the mean 4-h GH concentrations or integrated GH concentrations were found at rest or in response to exercise.
Conclusion: HRT use resulted in a greater incremental exercise response compared with non-HRT users, due to changes in the secretory pulse characteristics in the HRT users. This study also demonstrated that no racial differences exist at rest and in response to exercise in the morning hours.