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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2004 Apr;96(4):1445-50. Epub 2003 Dec 5.

Circulating plasma VEGF response to exercise in sedentary and endurance-trained men.

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Department of Exercise and Sport Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA.


The skeletal muscle capillary supply is an important determinant of maximum exercise capacity, and it is well known that endurance exercise training increases the muscle capillary supply. The muscle capillary supply and exercise-induced angiogenesis are regulated in part by vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). VEGF is produced by skeletal muscle cells and can be secreted into the circulation. We investigated whether there are differences in circulating plasma VEGF between sedentary individuals (Sed) and well-trained endurance athletes (ET) at rest or in response to acute exercise. Eight ET men (maximal oxygen consumption: 63.8 +/- 2.3 ml x kg(-1) x min(-1); maximum power output: 409.4 +/- 13.3 W) and eight Sed men (maximal oxygen consumption: 36.3 +/- 2.1 ml x kg(-1) x min(-1); maximum power output: 234.4 +/- 13.3 W) exercised for 1 h at 50% of maximum power output. Antecubital vein plasma was collected at rest and at 0, 2, and 4 h postexercise. Plasma VEGF was measured by ELISA analysis. Acute exercise significantly increased VEGF at 0 and 2 h postexercise in ET subjects but did not increase VEGF at any time point in Sed individuals. There was no difference in VEGF between ET and Sed subjects at any time point. When individual peak postexercise VEGF was analyzed, exercise did increase VEGF independent of training status. In conclusion, exercise can increase plasma VEGF in both ET athletes and Sed men; however, there is considerable variation in the individual time of the peak VEGF response.

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