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Dyn Med. 2008 Sep 8;7:13. doi: 10.1186/1476-5918-7-13.

Femoral artery remodeling after aerobic exercise training without weight loss in women.

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Department of Kinesiology, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA.



It is currently unclear whether reductions in adiposity mediate the improvements in vascular health that occur with aerobic exercise. The purpose of this longitudinal study of 13 healthy women (33 +/- 4 years old) was to determine whether 14 weeks of aerobic exercise would alter functional measures of vascular health, namely resting aortic pulse wave velocity (aPWV, an index of arterial stiffness), femoral artery diameter (D(FA)), and femoral artery blood flow (BF(FA)) independent of changes in adiposity.


Aerobic fitness was assessed as VO2peak normalized to fat-free mass, and adiposity (percent body fat) was determined by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. Serum concentrations of proteins associated with risk for cardiovascular disease, including C-reactive protein (CRP), soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1), and leptin, were also measured. Subjects cycled for 50 minutes, 3 times per week.


Aerobic fitness normalized to fat-free mass increased 6% (P = 0.03) whereas adiposity did not change. Resting D(FA) increased 12% (P < 0.001) and resting shear rate decreased 28% (P = 0.007). Aortic PWV, and serum sICAM-1, CRP and leptin did not change with training.


Significant reductions in adiposity were not necessary for aerobic exercise training to bring about improvements in aerobic fitness and arterial remodeling. Peripheral arterial remodeling occurred without changes in central arterial stiffness or markers of inflammation.

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