Proceedings of The Physiological Society

Europhysiology 2018 (London, UK) (2018) Proc Physiol Soc 41, C051

Oral Communications

The effect of lifelong physical activity on vascular function in postmenopausal women.

A. Tamariz1, L. Gliemann1, N. Rytter1, J. Egelund1, T. Jørgensen1, N. Brandt1, H. Carter1, Y. Hellsten1

1. Department of Nutrition Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, København N, Denmark.


Introduction: Cardiovascular function is impaired with aging and, in women, this effect of aging accelerates after the menopausal transition, due to the loss of estrogen. The favorable effect of physical activity on vascular function is well documented in men, but in postmenopausal women the effect has been suggested to be low or absent. The purpose of the present study was to investigate how lifelong physical activity reduces the age- and menopause related reduction in vascular function in women. Methods: Thirty-seven healthy postmenopausal women (61±0,7 years) were included in the study and divided into three groups with different degree of physically active lifestyle. 1) Inactive physically lifestyle (LOW; n=12), 2) moderate physically active lifestyle (MOD; n=11), and 3) very physically active lifestyle (HIGH; n=14), with 245, 411 and 725 METS/day respectively on average over the last 20 years. We examined vascular function, assessed by vasodilator response to intra-arterial infusion of acetylcholine, the prostacyclin analog epoprostenol and nitric oxide donor sodium nitropusside (SNP) into the femoral artery. Arterial blood pressure and blood flow were measured continuously and arterial and venous blood samples were collected. Leg vascular conductance (LVC) was calculated. In addition, muscles biopsies were obtained from m. vastus lateralis and are analyzed by Western blot. Results: At baseline weight, BMI and body fat % of HIGH was lower than MOD and LOW. MAP was 20% higher in LOW compared with MOD and HIGH. Vascular function: The absolute change in LVC with acetylcholine infusion was larger (p<0,05) in HIGH than in MOD and LOW, (2,5±0,2, 1,9±0,3 and 1,5±0,3 mL min-1 mmHg-1 kg-1, respectively). In response to infusion of epoprostenol HIGH and MOD showed a larger (p<0,05) change in LVC compared with LOW, (0,7±0,1, 0,6±0,1 and 0,5±0,1 mL min-1 mmHg-1 kg-1 respectively). The increase in LVC with SNP infusion was larger (p<0,05) in HIGH compared with LOW (1,0±0,1 and 0,6±0,1, respectively) but the change in LVC in MOD was not different from either group. Analyses of plasma and muscles biopsies are ongoing and will be presented. Conclusion: The present study indicates, that women with a very active lifestyle have a better vascular function, compared with women with a moderate or inactive lifestyle. Women with a physically moderate active lifestyle show a better response to prostacyclin and have lower blood pressure than women with an inactive lifestyle. The results imply that both a moderate and very active lifestyle is beneficial but also that a greater training load/intensity through life leads to better vascular function in postmenopausal women. This study expands the current knowledge on the favorable effect of physical activity on the vascular system in the aging woman and is useful for lifestyle recommendations.

Where applicable, experiments conform with Society ethical requirements