DOI: 10.1111/sms.14484 ISSN:

Treadmill running intensity and post‐exercise increase in plasma cardiac troponin I and T—A pilot study in healthy volunteers

Daniel Khai Nguyen, Øyvind Ellingsen, Bjørnar Grenne, Thomas Fremo, Gunhild Garmo Hov, Ragnhild Røsbjørgen, Gustav Mikkelsen
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine



Plasma concentrations of cardiac troponins increase in healthy individuals after strenuous training, but the response to lower exercise intensities has not been characterized.


To determine whether exercise at moderate intensity significantly increases plasma cardiac troponins measured with different assays in healthy recreational athletes.


Twenty‐four self‐reported healthy volunteers were instructed to complete three 60‐min bouts of treadmill running at variable intensities: High‐intensity training (HIT) including a maximal exercise test and an anaerobic threshold test followed by training at 80%–95% of maximum heart rate (HRmax), Moderate‐intensity training (MIT) at 60%–75% of HRmax, and Low‐intensity training (LIT) at 45%–55% of HRmax. Blood samples were collected before and at 2, 4, and 6 h after HIT and 4 h after MIT and LIT. Troponin I and T were measured in plasma samples with assays from Abbot, Siemens, and Roche.


Plasma troponins measured with all assays were significantly increased compared to baseline after HIT but not after LIT. After HIT, the fraction of all participants with one or more values above the assay‐specific 99th percentiles ranged from 13% to 61%. The biomarker criteria for acute myocardial injury were met after HIT for troponin T in 75% of female participants having no clinical evidence of coronary artery disease.


High‐intensity, but not moderate‐ or low‐intensity, training for 60 min induced a potentially clinically significant increase in plasma cardiac troponins in healthy volunteers. Results exceeding the population 99th percentiles were most frequent with the troponin T assay.

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