Functional electrical stimulation (FES) assisted resistance training has been effective in increasing muscular strength and endurance in spinal cord injured men and women in preparation for FES-assisted cycle programs and for FES-assisted standing and walking. Increases in blood pressure and a concomitant bradycardia suggestive of autonomic dysreflexia have been reported during FES-assisted resistance training. Self-induced autonomic dysreflexia in athletes who use wheelchairs suppressed the normal exercise induced serum testosterone increase. We, therefore, examined the changes in hematocrit and circulating levels of testosterone, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), cortisol, prolactin, norepinephrine and epinephrine during FES assisted resistance exercise in five high spinal cord injured men (SCI) and comparable maximal exercise in five able bodied controls (AB). Mean serum testosterone levels significantly increased with FES-assisted resistance training in SCI and maximal resistance exercise in AB with no significant change in hematocrit or SHBG. Prolactin, cortisol and epinephrine levels were unchanged while norepinephrine levels were significantly increased in SCI and AB. These findings suggest that there is no concern over inadequate physiological androgen response to an exercise stimulus in SCI. The data do not support the previous findings that elevated levels of norepinephrine in autonomic dysreflexia suppress testosterone response to exercise.
View details for Web of Science ID A1996UR61200003
View details for PubMedID 8963972