Prolonged Bed-Rest Inactivity

J Endocrinol Invest. 2012 Jan;35(1):54-62. doi: 10.3275/7606. Epub 2011 Mar 21.

The effects of bed-rest and countermeasure exercise on the endocrine system in male adults: evidence for immobilization-induced reduction in sex hormone-binding globulin levels.

Belavý DL, Seibel MJ, Roth HJ, Armbrecht G, Rittweger J, Felsenberg D.

Source:  Charité University Medical School, Center for Muscle and Bone Research, Berlin, Germany.


BACKGROUND AND AIM:  There is limited data on the effects of inactivity (prolonged bed-rest) on parameters of endocrine and metabolic function; we therefore aimed to examine changes in these systems during and after prolonged (56- day) bed-rest in male adults.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS:  Twenty healthy male subjects underwent 8 weeks of strict bed-rest and 12 months of follow-up as part of the Berlin Bed Rest Study. Subjects were randomized to an inactive group or a group that performed resistive vibration exercise (RVE) during bed-rest. All outcome parameters were measured before, during and after bed-rest. These included body composition (by whole body dual X-ray absorptiometry), SHBG, testosterone (T), estradiol (E2), PRL, cortisol (C), TSH and free T3 (FT3).

RESULTS:  Serum SHBG levels decreased in inactive subjects but remained unchanged in the RVE group (p<0.001). Serum T concentrations increased during the first 3 weeks of bed-rest in both groups (p<0.0001), while E2 levels sharply rose with re-mobilization (p<0.0001). Serum PRL decreased in the control group but increased in the RVE group (p=0.021). C levels did not change over time (p≥0.10). TSH increased whilst FT3 decreased during bed-rest (p all ≤0.0013).

CONCLUSIONS:  Prolonged bed-rest has significant effects on parameters of endocrine and metabolic function, some of which are related to, or counteracted by physical activity.

PMID:  21422800