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Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2012 Jun;37(3):418-24. doi: 10.1139/h2012-015. Epub 2012 Apr 10.

Exercise-induced vasodilation is associated with menopause stage in healthy middle-aged women.

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Department of Kinesiology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.


Leg exercise hemodynamics during single-leg knee extensions were compared among healthy groups of early perimenopausal (n = 15), late perimenopausal (n = 12), and early postmenopausal (n = 11) women. Femoral blood flow (FBF) and vascular conductance (FVC) at rest and during very light work rates (0 and 5 W) were similar among all three menopause stage groups. Vascular responses at 10 W (FBF) and 20 W (FBF and FVC) were significantly higher (P < 0.05) in early perimenopausal compared with late perimenopausal women. At 15 and 25 W, FBF and FVC were similar between late perimenopausal and early postmenopausal groups but higher (P < 0.05) in early perimenopausal women as compared with the other two menopausal groups. In the combined sample of all three menopause stage groups, follicle-stimulating hormone was significantly correlated with vascular conductance during submaximal (15 W) exercise (R = -0.56, P < 0.001), even after adjustment for age, fitness, LDL cholesterol, and abdominal fat (R = -0.46, P = 0.005). Collectively, these findings suggest that in middle-aged women, there is an association between menopause stage and leg vascular responsiveness during exercise.

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