Horm Metab Res 2005; 37(9): 538-544
DOI: 10.1055/s-2005-870419
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Thyroid Hormones, Cytokines, Physical Training and Metabolic Control

J.  M.  Steinacker1 , M.  Brkic1 , C.  Simsch1 , K.  Nething1 , A.  Kresz1 , O.  Prokopchuk1 , Y.  Liu1
  • 1Sektion Sport- und Rehabilitationsmedizin, Medizinische Klinik, Universität Ulm, Ulm, Germany
Further Information

Publication History

Received 22 February 2005

Accepted after Revision 31 May 2005

Publication Date:
20 September 2005 (online)


During the acute training response, peripheral cellular mechanisms are mainly metabolostatic to achieve energy supply. During prolonged training, glycogen deficiency occurs; this is associated with increased expression of local cytokines, and decreased insulin secretion and β-adrenergic stimulation and lipolysis in adipose tissue which looses energy. This is indicated by decrease of adipocyte hormone leptin, which has inhibitory effects on excitatory hypothalamic neurons. Leptin, insulin, and cytokines such as interleukin 6 (IL-6) contribute to the metabolic error signal to the hypothalamus which result in decrease of hypothalamic release hormones and sympathoadrenergic stimulation. Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is correlated to the metabolic hormones leptin and insulin, and may be used as indicator of metabolic control. Because the hypothalamus integrates various error signals (metabolic, hormonal, sensory afferents, and central stimuli), the pituitary’s releasing hormones represent the functional status of an athlete. Long-term overtraining will lead to downregulation of hypothalamic hormonal and sympathoadrenergic responses, catabolism, and fatigue. These changes contribute to myopathy with predominant expression of slow muscle fiber type and inadequacy in performance. Thyroid hormones are closely involved in the training response and metabolic control.


Jürgen M. Steinacker, M. D.

Associate Professor of Medicine, Sektion Sport- und Rehabilitationsmedizin

Medizinische Klinik · Universität Ulm · 89070 Ulm · Germany

Phone: +49 (731) 500-269 60 ·

Fax: +49 (731) 500-21579

Email: juergen.steinacker@medizin.uni-ulm.de