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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2013 Feb;113(2):349-57. doi: 10.1007/s00421-012-2442-5. Epub 2012 Jun 23.

The effect of acute exercise in hypoxia on flow-mediated vasodilation.

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  • 1Research Center of Health, Physical Fitness and Sports, Nagoya University, Furocho Chikusaku, Nagoya, Japan.


The purpose of this study was to clarify the effect of acute exercise in hypoxia on flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD). Eight males participated in this study. Two maximal exercise tests were performed using arm cycle ergometry to estimate peak oxygen uptake [Formula: see text] while breathing normoxic [inspired O(2) fraction (FIO(2)) = 0.21] or hypoxic (FIO(2) = 0.12) gas mixtures. Next, subjects performed submaximal exercise at the same relative exercise intensity [Formula: see text] in normoxia or hypoxia for 30 min. Before (Pre) and after exercise (Post 5, 30, and 60 min), brachial artery FMD was measured during reactive hyperemia by ultrasound under normoxic conditions. FMD was estimated as the percent (%) rise in the peak diameter from the baseline value at prior occlusion at each FMD measurement (%FMD). The area under the curve for the shear rate stimulus (SR(AUC)) was calculated in each measurement, and each %FMD value was normalized to SR(AUC) (normalized FMD). %FMD and normalized FMD decreased significantly (P < 0.05) immediately after exercise in both condition (mean ± SE, FMD, normoxic trial, Pre: 8.85 ± 0.58 %, Post 5: -0.01 ± 1.30 %, hypoxic trial, Pre: 8.84 ± 0.63 %, Post 5: 2.56 ± 0.83 %). At Post 30 and 60, %FMD and normalized FMD returned gradually to pre-exercise levels in both trials (FMD, normoxic trial, Post 30: 1.51 ± 0.68 %, Post 60: 2.99 ± 0.79 %; hypoxic trial, Post 30: 4.57 ± 0.78 %, Post 60: 6.15 ± 1.20 %). %FMD and normalized FMD following hypoxic exercise (at Post 5, 30, and 60) were significantly (P < 0.05) higher than after normoxic exercise. These results suggest that aerobic exercise in hypoxia has a significant impact on endothelial-mediated vasodilation.

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