Single-dose prednisolone alters endocrine and haematologic responses and exercise performance in men

Alexander Tacey, Lewan Parker, Bu B. Yeap, John Joseph, Ee M. Lim, Andrew Garnham, David L. Hare, Tara Brennan-Speranza, Itamar Levinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of a single dose of prednisolone on (A) high-intensity interval cycling performance and (B) post-exercise metabolic, hormonal and haematological responses. Nine young men participated in this double-blind, randomised, cross-over study. The participants completed exercise sessions (4 × 4 min cycling bouts at 90–95% of peak heart rate), 12 h after ingesting prednisolone (20 mg) or placebo. Work load was adjusted to maintain the same relative heart rate between the sessions. Exercise performance was measured as total work performed. Blood samples were taken at rest, immediately post exercise and up to 3 h post exercise. Prednisolone ingestion decreased total work performed by 5% (P < 0.05). Baseline blood glucose was elevated following prednisolone compared to placebo (P < 0.001). Three hours post exercise, blood glucose in the prednisolone trial was reduced to a level equivalent to the baseline concentration in the placebo trial (P > 0.05). Prednisolone suppressed the increase in blood lactate immediately post exercise (P < 0.05). Total white blood cell count was elevated at all time-points with prednisolone (P < 0.01). Androgens and sex hormone-binding globulin were elevated immediately after exercise, irrespective of prednisolone or placebo. In contrast, prednisolone significantly reduced the ratio of testosterone/luteinizing hormone (P < 0.01). Acute prednisolone treatment impairs high-intensity interval cycling performance and alters metabolic and haematological parameters in healthy young men. Exercise may be an effective tool to minimise the effect of prednisolone on blood glucose levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-119
Number of pages9
JournalEndocrine Connections
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


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