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Exp Physiol. 2007 Sep;92(5):871-9. Epub 2007 May 4.

Differential aerobic exercise-induced changes in plasma aldosterone between African Americans and Caucasians.

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Department of Kinesiology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA.


Aldosterone influences the kidney's regulation of blood pressure (BP), but aldosterone can contribute to the pathogenesis of hypertension. Blood pressure is reduced with aerobic exercise training (AEX), but the extent to which plasma aldosterone (PA) levels change is unclear. The purpose of this study was to determine whether 6 months of AEX changed PA levels, 24 h sodium (Na(+)) excretion and BP in prehypertensive and hypertensive subjects and whether these changes differed according to ethnicity. The study was performed in the Kinesiology Department at the University of Maryland, College Park, and 35 (22 Caucasian; 13 African American) sedentary prehypertensive and hypertensive subjects completed 6 months of AEX. Blood samples were collected under fasting and supine conditions, and PA was measured by radioimmunoassay. In total population aerobic exercise training increased maximal oxygen consumption (24 +/- 0.8 versus 28 +/- 1 ml kg(-1) min(-1), P < 0.001) and decreased PA levels (97 +/- 11 versus 72 +/- 6 pg ml(-1), P = 0.01), body mass index (28 +/- 0.5 versus 28 +/- 0.5 kg m(-2), P = 0.004) and weight (85 +/- 2 versus 83 +/- 2 kg, P = 0.003). Aerobic exercise training decreased PA levels (from 119 +/- 16 to 81 +/- 7 pg ml(-1), P = 0.02) in the Caucasians but there was no change in BP or Na(+) excretion. African American participants had no significant changes in PA levels, BP and Na(+) excretion. Plasma aldosterone levels were 47% lower at baseline (P = 0.01) and 30% lower after AEX (P = 0.04) in African American participants compared with Caucasians. Baseline (P = 0.08) and final PA levels (P = 0.17) did not differ between the two groups after accounting for baseline and final intra-abdominal fat, respectively. The reduction in PA levels with AEX appeared to be driven by the change in PA levels in Caucasian participants. Fat distribution contributed to the ethnic differences in PA levels.

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