European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 112, Issue 6, pp 2375–2379 | Cite as

Vascular inflammation and blood pressure response to acute exercise

  • Mark HamerEmail author
  • Andrew Steptoe
Short Communication


Exaggerated blood pressure (BP) response to exercise is a strong predictor of cardiovascular disease, although the mechanisms remain unknown. The purpose was to examine the association between systemic markers of vascular inflammation and exercise blood pressure (BP) responses. Participants were 191 healthy men and women (aged 45–59 years). Blood pressure was measured at baseline and during 8 min of steady state cycling ergometry exercise (at 50 W). Markers of vascular inflammation (fibrinogen, von Willebrand factor antigen, tumour necrosis factor-α, interleukin-6 [IL-6], C-reactive protein [CRP]) were measured at baseline together with other traditional risk factors including central adiposity, smoking, alcohol, and habitual physical activity. CRP (β = 0.30, p < 0.001), IL-6 (β = 0.25, p = 0.001), and fibrinogen (β = 0.14, p = 0.04) were associated with exercise systolic BP. The association with CRP remained significant after adjustment for age, sex, resting BP, and other risk factors. Other independent predictors of exercise BP included resting BP, female gender, waist–hip ratio, lower employment grade, and low physical activity level. In summary, central adiposity and vascular inflammatory processes may underlie exaggerated BP responses to acute exercise.


Blood pressure Central obesity C-reactive protein Exercise Inflammation Interleukin-6 



This research was supported by the Medical Research Council, UK, and the British Heart Foundation. We acknowledge the contributions of Dr Sabine Kunz-Ebrecht, Dr Pamela Feldman, Dr Gonneke Willemsen, Dr Natalie Owen and Bev Murray to data collection, and Dr Vidya Mohamed-Ali to the cytokine analyses.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology and Public HealthUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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