Changes in Serum Levels of Myokines and Wnt-Antagonists after an Ultramarathon Race

Katharina Kerschan-Schindl, Markus M Thalmann, Elisabeth Weiss, Maria Tsironi, Ursula Föger-Samwald, Johann Meinhart, Katerina Skenderi, Peter Pietschmann

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

38 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Regular physical activities have a positive effect on the muscular skeletal system but overstrenuous exercise may be different. Transiently suppressed bone formation and increased bone resorption after participation in a 246-km ultradistance race has been demonstrated.

PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to analyze effects of the Spartathlon race on novel musculoskeletal markers.

METHODS: Venous blood samples were obtained before and immediately after the race from 19 participants of the Spartathlon. From 9 runners who were available 3 days after the start blood was drawn for a third time. Serum levels of myostatin, an inhibitor of myogenic differentiation, and its opponent follistatin as well as sclerostin and dickkopf-1, both of them inhibitors of the wnt signaling pathway, and markers of bone turnover were determined.

RESULTS: Serum levels of myostatin were significantly higher after the race. Serum follistatin only showed a transient increase. Sclerostin levels did not significantly differ before and after the race, whereas dickkopf-1 levels were significantly decreased. At follow-up a decrement of sclerostin and dickkopf-1 levels was seen. Serum cathepsin K levels did not change.

CONCLUSION: The increase of serum levels of myostatin appears to reflect muscle catabolic processes induced by overstrenuous exercise. After the short-term uncoupling of bone turnover participation in an ultradistance race seems to initiate a long-term positive effect on bone indicated by the low-level inhibition of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0132478
Pages (from-to)e0132478
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 06 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins/blood
  • Bone Resorption/blood
  • Cathepsin K/blood
  • Collagen Type I/blood
  • Female
  • Follistatin/blood
  • Genetic Markers
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins/blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal/metabolism
  • Myostatin/blood
  • Peptide Fragments/blood
  • Peptides/blood
  • Procollagen/blood
  • Running/physiology
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway/physiology


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