NT-proBNP concentrations in mountain marathoners

Giuseppe Banfi, Giuseppe Lippi, Daniele Susta, Alessandra Barassi, Gianvico Melzi D'Eril, Giada Dogliotti, Massimiliano M. Corsi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The 76 amino acid N-terminal proB-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) is proposed for evaluating and monitoring heart pathologies characterized by myocardial wall stress. Strenuous exercise might generate transitory ischemia, myocardial stress, and diastolic left ventricular dysfunction, possibly inducing an increase of some biochemical parameter concentrations. An alert has been claimed owing to biochemical and instrumental signs of heart dysfunction in recreational athletes during marathon races. We studied the behaviour of NT-proBNP in 15 mountain marathoners before and after a race. The concentrations of the parameter were lower than that observed in controls at rest and were similar to that observed in professional soccer and rugby players. The concentrations significantly increased after the race. NT-proBNP is low at rest in professional athletes, and the increase after physical exercise is physiological. The marathoners, even when performing races in a highaltitude environment, show NT-proBNP concentrations similar to those of athletes from other sports disciplines, characterized by low levels of effort and by a mix of aerobic and anaerobic metabolism. The increase of NT-proBNP is linked to strenuous physical exercise and to heavy heart effort, testified also by an increase of troponin I. However, the role of the NT-proBNP could be important to screen recreational and professional marathoners to avoid possible heart problems and sudden cardiac death in subjects with occult heart disease. The results of the present study are relevant to the design and evaluation of training programs for improving strength and function of professional marathoners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1369-1372
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2010


  • Athletes
  • Endurance
  • Heart dysfunction
  • Training
  • Troponin I

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Medicine(all)


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