Fiziol Cheloveka. 2001 Sep-Oct;27(5):133-7. Links Influence of estrogen on markers of muscle tissue damage following eccentric exercise. * Carter A, * Dobridge J, * Hackney AC. Endocrine Section, Applied Physiology Laboratory, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA. This study tested the hypothesis that estrogen levels of women influences the development of a muscle-tissue damage (creatine kinase, CK) marker and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) following eccentric exercise. Seventeen oral contraceptive (OC) users and ten eumenorrheic (EU) subjects completed a 30-min downhill running bout at approximately 60% VO2max. The OC completed the exercise during the mid-luteal phase (day 22.9 +/- 1.5; high estrogen) while the EU did their exercise in the mid-follicular phase (day 9.6 +/- 4.4; low estrogen) of the menstrual cycle, respectively. The CK activity and DOMS were assessed pre-exercise, immediately post-, 24, 48 and 72 h post-exercise. ANOVA results indicated that there was a significant increase in CK activity in response to the downhill run (p < 0.001), and the interaction of group x time was significantly different (p < 0.01). The OC group had lower CK at 72 h post-exercise than did the EU group. Pre-exercise estrogen levels correlated with the overall mean CK (r = -0.43, p < 0.05) and 72 h (r = -0.38, p < 0.05) responses, respectively. Exercise caused an increase in DOMS in both groups (p < 0.001); but, no significant interaction was observed. These findings suggest that elevated estrogen levels have a protective effect on muscle tissue following eccentric exercise. The mechanism of this protective effect is unclear but may be related to the anti-oxidant characteristics and membrane stability properties associated with estrogen and its derivatives.