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Sex Differences in Hormonal and Extracellular Vesicle Responses to Military-Based Physiological Stress and Exercise

Conkright, William (2021) Sex Differences in Hormonal and Extracellular Vesicle Responses to Military-Based Physiological Stress and Exercise. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Military personnel undergo training with both positive and negative implications for military readiness. Regular exercise training promotes fitness improvements, which translates to heightened combat readiness. In contrast, rigorous field training characterized by prolonged physical work, sleep disruption or restriction, and/or undernutrition results in physical deterioration and reduced readiness. The balance between this dichotomy of exercise and field training with bifurcating endpoints may be improved via the use of objective markers of physiological adaptation and maladaptation. There are known physiological differences between men and women, yet how they respond to military training stress is largely unknown. This begs the question: Does the physiological response differ between men and women during military-based stress and exercise? This question is timely given the recent inclusion of women into direct ground combat roles in the United States military following long held policies of their exclusion in such positions. The collection of studies in this document examined physiological response patterns in men and women undergoing simulated military operational stress and exercise. Specifically, applied metrics of soldier performance were assessed in conjunction with conventional measures of circulating stress and anabolic hormones using established methods. Sophisticated techniques were also employed to measure extracellular vesicles in a high-throughput manner, yielding multiparametric information about their features. The results indicate that men and women have similar responses in physical performance to simulated military operational stress, but circulating factors underpinning physiological changes during stress and exercise training display sex dimorphism. Given that biomarkers serve as early warning indicators of phenotypic change, results from this thesis suggest potential downstream implications for readiness and identify novel targets for monitoring sex-specific differences in military-based stress and training.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Conkright, Williamwrc16@pitt.eduwrc16
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairNindl, Bradleybnindl@pitt.edubnindl
Committee CoChairAmbrosio, Fabrisiaambrosiof@upmc.eduambrosiof
Committee MemberFlanagan, Shawnsdf29@pitt.eduSDF29
Committee MemberLovalekar, Mitamital@pitt.edumital
Committee MemberMi, Qiqi.mi@pitt.eduqi.mi
Date: 8 September 2021
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 26 July 2021
Approval Date: 8 September 2021
Submission Date: 27 July 2021
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 212
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Sports Medicine and Nutrition
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: extracellular vesicles, hormones, military, sex differences
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2021 19:24
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2023 05:15


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