Physical Competition Increases Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and Androstenedione rather than Testosterone among Juvenile Boy Soccer Players

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Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology





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We examined potential changes in salivary DHEA, androstenedione, cortisol, testosterone, and cortisol/DHEA ratio in boys in response to soccer practice and soccer match competition. To our knowledge, this study is the first to explore the impacts of athletic competition on salivary steroid hormone change in juvenile boy soccer players. Boys from five different Las Vegas, Nevada teams provided saliva samples during soccer practice (N = 28), with four out of five teams providing saliva samples during a soccer match (N = 26). All participants were aged 8 – 10 years. A Wilcoxon Signed-Rank Sum Test and standard linear regression analyses were performed to assess the change in hormone concentrations during soccer practice and soccer match competition. Results revealed a statistically significant rise in boys’ DHEA concentrations during both practice and match play. Androstenedione significantly increased during the match competition only. Cortisol did not change with statistical significance during either condition. A Friedman’s ANOVA was used to evaluate within-subject differences in boys who participated in both the practice and match treatments (N = 17). Cortisol was the only hormone measure that, with statistical significance, increased more during the match than it did during practice. Analysis of the cortisol/DHEA ratios revealed a statistically significant decrease occurred during practice only. No statistical analysis was available for testosterone since all but seven samples were below the sensitivity of the assay (<3.0 pg/mL). These data suggest acute adrenal steroid hormone release in juvenile boys is sensitive to physical competition and responds differently than adult males.


Soccer; Exercise physiology; DHEA; Androstenedione; Cortisol; Juvenile



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