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J Am Soc Hypertens. 2017 May;11(5):246-257. doi: 10.1016/j.jash.2017.03.002. Epub 2017 Mar 14.

Effect of gender and adiposity on in vivo vascular function in young African Americans.

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Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, USA.
Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, USA. Electronic address:


The relationship between obesity and high blood pressure is not as strong among African Americans (AA) as compared to Caucasians. We designed the current study to determine the effect of adiposity on vascular endothelial function (a harbinger of hypertension) among young healthy AA without additional cardiovascular disease risk factors. A total of 108 AA subjects (46 women) between the ages of 18 and 45 years were recruited. All the subjects were normotensive, nonsmokers, and normoglycemic. Anthropometric and cardiovascular disease risk factor measurements (lipid, insulin resistance, and inflammatory markers) were obtained. Vascular endothelial function was measured by brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD). Adiposity distribution was measured by using magnetic resonance imaging scan. There were no gender differences in age and levels of blood pressure, lipids, insulin resistance, and inflammatory markers. Women had higher total body fat percentage and higher peripheral adiposity compared to men. We observed that total and central adiposity did not correlate significantly with brachial artery FMD in women (r = -0.12 and r = 0.23, respectively; P = NS). However, in men, waist circumference was positively associated with FMD (r = 0.3, P ≤ .05). Hyperemic flow was negatively correlated significantly with total and central adiposity in men (r = -0.34 and r = -0.48, respectively; P < .05), but not in women (r = -0.26 and r = 0.03, respectively; P = NS). Our study suggests that increased adiposity may pose greater risk to AA men compared to AA women by adversely affecting resistance vessel function (as measured by hyperemic flow). Larger studies are necessary to validate these findings.


Clinical studies; high blood pressure; obesity; race and ethnicity; risk factors; women

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