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J Physiol. 2008 Oct 15;586(20):5003-12. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2008.158014. Epub 2008 Aug 28.

Time course of change in vasodilator function and capacity in response to exercise training in humans.

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  • 1Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Science, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK.

Abstract

Studies of the impact of exercise training on arterial adaptation in healthy subjects have produced disparate results. It is possible that some studies failed to detect changes because functional and structural adaptations follow a different time course and may therefore not be detected at discrete time points. To gain insight into the time course of training-induced changes in artery function and structure, we examined conduit artery flow mediated dilatation (FMD), an index of nitric oxide (NO)-mediated artery function, and conduit dilator capacity (DC), a surrogate marker for arterial remodelling, in the brachial and popliteal arteries of 13 healthy male subjects (21.6 +/- 0.6 years) and seven non-active controls (22.8 +/- 0.2 years) studied at 2-week intervals across an 8-week cycle and treadmill exercise training programme. Brachial and popliteal artery FMD and DC did not change in control subjects at any time point. FMD increased from baseline (5.9 +/- 0.5%) at weeks 2 and 4 (9.1 +/- 0.6, 8.5 +/- 0.6%, respectively, P < 0.01), but returned towards baseline levels again by week 8 (6.9 +/- 0.7%). In contrast, brachial artery DC progressively increased from baseline (8.1 +/- 0.4%) at weeks 2, 4, 6 and 8 (9.2 +/- 0.6, 9.9 +/- 0.6, 10.0 +/- 0.5, 10.5 +/- 0.8%, P < 0.05). Similarly, popliteal artery FMD increased from baseline (6.2 +/- 0.7%) at weeks 2, 4 and 6 (9.1 +/- 0.6, 9.5 +/- 0.6, 7.8 +/- 0.5%, respectively, P < 0.05), but decreased again by week 8 (6.5 +/- 0.6%), whereas popliteal DC progressively increased from baseline (8.9 +/- 0.4%) at week 4 and 8 (10.5 +/- 0.7, 12.2 +/- 0.6%, respectively, P < 0.05). These data suggest that functional changes in conduit arteries occur rapidly and precede arterial remodelling in vivo. These data suggest that complimentary adaptations occur in arterial function and structure and future studies should adopt multiple time point assessments to comprehensively assess arterial adaptations to interventions such as exercise training in humans.

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