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Front Physiol. 2012 Sep 7;3:356. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2012.00356. eCollection 2012.

Cardiovascular autonomic nervous system function and aerobic capacity in type 1 diabetes.

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Department of Sports and Exercise Medicine, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Helsinki Helsinki, Finland.


Impaired cardiovascular autonomic nervous system (ANS) function has been reported in type 1 diabetes (T1D) patients. ANS function, evaluated by heart rate variability (HRV), systolic blood pressure variability (SBPV), and baroreflex sensitivity (BRS), has been linked to aerobic capacity (VO(2peak)) in healthy subjects, but this relationship is unknown in T1D. We examined cardiovascular ANS function at rest and during function tests, and its relations to VO(2peak) in T1D individuals. Ten T1D patients (34 ± 7 years) and 11 healthy control (CON; 31 ± 6 years) age and leisure-time physical activity-matched men were studied. ANS function was recorded at rest and during active standing and handgrip. Determination of VO(2peak) was obtained with a graded cycle ergometer test. During ANS recordings SBPV, BRS, and resting HRV did not differ between groups, but alpha1 responses to maneuvers in detrended fluctuation analyses were smaller in T1D (active standing; 32%, handgrip; 20%, medians) than in CON (active standing; 71%, handgrip; 54%, p < 0.05). VO(2peak) was lower in T1D (36 ± 4 ml kg(-1) min(-1)) than in CON (45 ± 9 ml kg(-1) min(-1), p < 0.05). Resting HRV measures, RMSSD, HF, and SD1 correlated with VO(2peak) in CON (p < 0.05) and when analyzing groups together. These results suggest that T1D had lower VO(2peak), weaker HRV response to maneuvers, but not impaired cardiovascular ANS function at rest compared with CON. Resting parasympathetic cardiac activity correlated with VO(2peak) in CON but not in T1D. Detrended fluctuation analysis could be a sensitive detector of changes in cardiac ANS function in T1D.


aerobic capacity; alpha1; detrended fluctuation analysis; heart rate variability; type 1 diabetes

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