Acute exercise transiently suppresses the orexigenic gut hormone acylated ghrelin, but the extent to which exercise intensity and duration determine this response is not fully understood. The effects of manipulating exercise intensity and duration on acylated ghrelin concentrations and hunger were examined in two experiments. In experiment one, nine healthy males completed three, 4-h conditions (control, moderate-intensity running (MOD) and vigorous-intensity running (VIG)), with an energy expenditure of ~2.5 MJ induced in both MOD (55-min running at 52% peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak)) and VIG (36-min running at 75% VO2peak). In experiment two, nine healthy males completed three, 9-h conditions (control, 45-min running (EX45) and 90-min running (EX90)). Exercise was performed at 70% VO2peak. In both experiments, participants consumed standardised meals, and acylated ghrelin concentrations and hunger were quantified at predetermined intervals. In experiment one, delta acylated ghrelin concentrations were lower than control in MOD (ES = 0.44, P = 0.01) and VIG (ES = 0.98, P < 0.001); VIG was lower than MOD (ES = 0.54, P = 0.003). Hunger ratings were similar across the conditions (P = 0.35). In experiment two, delta acylated ghrelin concentrations were lower than control in EX45 (ES = 0.77, P<0.001) and EX90 (ES = 0.68, P<0.001); EX45 and EX90 were similar (ES = 0.09, P = 0.55). Hunger ratings were lower than control in EX45 (ES = 0.20, P = 0.01) and EX90 (ES = 0.27, P = 0.001); EX45 and EX90 were similar (ES = 0.07, P = 0.34). Hunger and delta acylated ghrelin concentrations remained suppressed at 1.5 h in EX90 but not EX45. In conclusion, exercise intensity, and to a lesser extent duration, are determinants of the acylated ghrelin response to acute exercise.
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