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Impact of handgrip exercise intensity on brachial artery flow-mediated dilation

Abstract

Purpose

Previous studies that have examined the impact of exercise intensity on conduit artery endothelial function have involved large muscle group exercise which induces local and systemic effects. The aim of this study was to examine flow-mediated dilation (FMD) before and after incremental intensities of handgrip exercise (HE), to assess the role of local factors such as blood flow and shear rate on post-exercise brachial artery function.

Methods

Eleven healthy men attended the laboratory on three occasions. Subjects undertook 30 min of handgrip exercise at three intensities (5, 10 or 15 % MVC). Brachial artery FMD, shear and blood flow patterns were examined before, immediately after and 60 min post exercise.

Results

Handgrip exercise increased mean and antegrade shear rate (SR) and blood flow (BF) and reduced retrograde SR and BF (all P < 0.01). Exercise intensity was associated with a dose-dependent increase in both mean and antegrade BF and SR (interaction, P < 0.01). Post-hoc tests revealed that, whilst handgrip exercise did not immediately induce post-exercise changes, FMD was significantly higher 60 min post-exercise following the highest exercise intensity (5.9 ± 2.8–10.4 ± 5.8 %, P = 0.01).

Conclusions

Handgrip exercise leads to intensity-and time-dependent changes in conduit artery function, possibly mediated by local increases in shear, with improvement in function evident at 1 h post-exercise when performed at a higher intensity.

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Abbreviations

ANOVA:

Analysis of variance

BF:

Blood flow

DBP:

Diastolic blood pressure

FMD:

Flow-mediated dilation

HE:

Handgrip exercise

LMM:

Linear mixed model

LSD:

Least significant difference

MAP:

Mean arterial pressure

MVC:

Maximal voluntary contractile

ROS:

Reactive oxygen species

SBP:

Systolic blood pressure

SR:

Shear rate

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the participants for their time in completing this research study. Professor Green’s research is supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Grant ID 1045204.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standard

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Correspondence to Ceri L. Atkinson.

Additional information

Communicated by Massimo Pagani.

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Atkinson, C.L., Carter, H.H., Dawson, E.A. et al. Impact of handgrip exercise intensity on brachial artery flow-mediated dilation. Eur J Appl Physiol 115, 1705–1713 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-015-3157-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-015-3157-1

Keywords

  • Exercise intensity
  • Endothelial function
  • Shear stress
  • Cardiovascular risk