All the latest international guidelines recommend that cardiac troponin (cTn) I and T should be considered the preferred biomarkers for diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction. However, only in the last 5 years, a progressive improvement in analytical performance of immunometric assays has allowed the measurement of circulating levels of cTnI and cTnT in the large part of apparently healthy adult subjects. The routine use of these high-sensitivity methods for cardiac troponin (hs-cTn) assay has in a short time demonstrated that cardiac troponin concentrations frequently increase after strenuous prolonged exercise in healthy athletes. This acute response of hs-cTn assay following exercise was at first considered to be physiological and without long-term adverse consequences. More recent studies have suggested that exercise-induced increases in hs-cTn values may not be always a physiological response to exercise, but, conversely, it should sometimes be considered as an early cardiovascular risk marker. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of acute and chronic effects of strenuous physical exercise on hs-cTn circulating levels and also to discuss the potential pathophysiological and clinical implications of biomarker responses.

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PubMed