Sympathetic nervous system contributes to the age-related impairment of flow-mediated dilation of the superficial femoral artery.
until further notice
SourceAmerican Journal of Physiology : Heart and Circulatory Physiology, 291, 6, (2006), pp. H3122-9
Article / Letter to editor
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American Journal of Physiology : Heart and Circulatory Physiology
SubjectIGMD 5: Health aging / healthy living; NCEBP 14: Cardiovascular diseases; UMCN 2.2: Vascular medicine and diabetes
The physiological aging process is associated with endothelial dysfunction, as assessed by flow-mediated dilation (FMD). Aging is also characterized by increased sympathetic tone. Therefore, the aim of the present study is to assess whether acute changes in sympathetic activity alter FMD in the leg. For this purpose, the FMD of the superficial femoral artery was determined in 10 healthy young (22 +/- 1 yr) and 8 healthy older (69 +/- 1 yr) men in three different conditions: 1) at baseline, 2) during reduction of sympathetic activity, and 3) during sympathetic stimulation. Reduction of sympathetic activity was achieved by performing a maximal cycling exercise, leading to postexercise attenuation of the sympathetic responsiveness in the exercised limb. A cold pressor test was used to increase sympathetic activity. Nitroglycerin (NTG) was used to assess endothelium-independent vasodilation in all three conditions. Our results showed that, in older men, the FMD and NTG responses were significantly lower compared with young men (P = 0.001 and P = 0.02, respectively). In older men, sympathetic activity significantly affected the FMD response [repeated-measures (RM) ANOVA: P = 0.01], with a negative correlation between the level of sympathetic activity and FMD (R = -0.41, P = 0.049). This was not the case for NTG responses (ANOVA; P = 0.48). FMD and NTG responses in young men did not differ among the three conditions (RM-ANOVA: P = 0.32 and P = 0.31, respectively). In conclusion, in older men, FMD of the femoral artery is impaired. Local attenuation of the sympathetic responsiveness partly restores the FMD in these subjects. In contrast, in young subjects, acute modulation of the sympathetic nervous system activity does not alter flow-mediated vasodilation in the leg.
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