Pepsinogens and gastrointestinal symptoms in mountain marathon runners

G. Banfi, M. Marinelli, P. Bonini, I. Gritti, G. S. Roi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although there are various descriptive reports concerning exercise-induced gastrointestinal distress, the role of gastrointestinal hormones and/or enzymes is not definitively established. In this study we investigated the behaviour of pepsinogens (PGI and PGII) after an endurance race performed at an altitude of 4300 m by 13 well-trained marathon runners, with the aim to establish their interrelationship with gastrointestinal distress and with the modifications of gastrin and cortisol. The athletes showed a significant rise in gastrin (p <0.01) and in cortisol (p <0.01) and a significant decrease in PGI (p <0.01) and PGII (p <0.05) after the race. The PGI/PGII ratio presented small variations indicating that heavy exercise has less effects on PGs than those observed for gastrin. Gastrointestinal symptoms occurred in 6 athletes (46%) during the race and in 8 athletes (62%) after the race. No relationship was found between gastrointestinal symptoms and hormonal modifications after the race. A control group of 5 subjects was used: they (n = 5) did not show any significant modification of gastrin and PGs during the period spent at the above altitude, indicating that travel, altitude and acclimatization, food and beverages, do not influence the behaviour of these hormones. Conversely, they presented a significant decrease of cortisol (p <0.05) linked to the circadian rhythm. The data of the present study indicate that the potential damage of gastrointestinal apparatus in mountain marathon runners is not related to the above mentioned hormones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)554-558
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • High altitude
  • Marathon
  • Pepsinogens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'Pepsinogens and gastrointestinal symptoms in mountain marathon runners'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this