The effect of acute exhaustive exercise session on skin microvascular reactivity was assessed in professional rowers and sedentary subjects. A potential involvement of altered hemodynamic parameters and/or oxidative stress level in the regulation of skin microvascular blood flow by acute exercise were determined.
Anthropometric, biochemical, and hemodynamic parameters were measured in 18 young healthy sedentary men and 20 professional rowers who underwent a single acute exercise session. Post-occlusive reactive hyperemia (PORH), endothelium-dependent acetylcholine (ACh), and endothelium-independent sodium nitroprusside (SNP) microvascular responses were assessed by laser Doppler flowmetry in skin microcirculation before and after acute exercise. Serum lipid peroxidation products and plasma antioxidant capacity were measured using spectrophotometry.
At baseline, rowers had significantly lower diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and heart rate (HR), and higher stroke volume (SV), PORH, and endothelium-dependent vasodilation than sedentary. Acute exercise caused a significant increase in systolic blood pressure, DBP, HR, and SV and a decrease in total peripheral resistance in both groups. Acute exercise induced a significant impairment in PORH and ACh-induced response in rowers, but not in sedentary, whereas the SNP-induced vasodilation was not affected by acute exercise in any group. Antioxidant capacity significantly increased only in sedentary after acute exercise.
Single acute exercise session impaired microvascular reactivity and endothelial function in rowers but not in sedentary, possibly due to (1) more rowing grades and higher exercise intensity achieved by rowers; (2) a higher increase in arterial pressure in rowers than in sedentary men; and (3) a lower antioxidant capacity in rowers.
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Area under the curve
Body mass index
Diastolic blood pressure
Full blood cell count
Fat free mass%
Ferric-reducing ability of plasma
High-density lipoprotein cholesterol
High-sensitivity C-reactive protein
Laser Doppler flowmetry
Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol
Mean arterial pressure
Post-occlusive reactive hyperemia
Rating of perceived exertion
Systolic blood pressure
Thiobarbituric acid reactive substances
Total body water%
Total peripheral resistance
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We thank to Rowing Club Iktus Osijek and Croatian Rowing Club Vukovar for engagement in this study.
This study was supported by earmarked funding grant of Faculty of Medicine Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek VIF2015-MEFOS-05 “Mechanisms involved in endothelial dysfunction development by acute high salt loading and acute exhausting exercise”; and Osijek-Baranja County project (2014–2016) “Influence of exercise on cardiovascular physiological parameters”.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Communicated by Carsten Lundby.
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Stupin, M., Stupin, A., Rasic, L. et al. Acute exhaustive rowing exercise reduces skin microvascular dilator function in young adult rowing athletes. Eur J Appl Physiol 118, 461–474 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-017-3790-y
- Acute exercise
- Microvascular reactivity
- Oxidative stress