Effect of Regular Physical Training on Cutaneous Microvascular Reactivity

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Abstract

Purpose

To investigate whether regular intense physical training induces changes in microvascular reactivity of human glabrous and nonglabrous skin.

Methods

Subjects were physically trained competitive cyclists (N = 19) and age-matched sedentary controls (N = 20). We measured cutaneous microvascular blood flow on the dorsum of the hand (nonglabrous skin) and on the finger pulp (glabrous skin) using the laser-Doppler (LD) method. Endothelium-dependent vasodilation was assessed by an iontophoretic application of acetylcholine (ACh) on the dorsum of the hand and by an induction of postocclusive reactive hyperemia (PRH) on the finger pulp. Endothelium-independent vasodilation was assessed on the dorsum of the hand by iontophoretically applied sodium-nitroprusside (SNP).

Results

The ACh-evoked increase in LD flux (LDF) was significantly greater in the group of cyclists (7.5-fold ± 0.5 increase) as compared with controls (5.9-fold ± 0.5). We found no differences in the peak LDF during PRH, whereas the recovery time of PRH was significantly longer (241.5 ± 21.6 s in trained vs 154.6 ± 9.3 s in sedentary group) and the area under the PRH curve significantly larger in the group of trained subjects (19,066 ± 2,653 PU·s in trained vs 12,168 ± 864 PU·s in sedentary). In contrast, we found a significantly smaller response to SNP in the group of cyclists (6.2-fold ± 0.5 increase) as compared with sedentary subjects (7.8-fold ± 0.5 increase).

Conclusion

The results of our study point to a greater vasodilator capacity of endothelium in glabrous as well as in nonglabrous skin in the group of physically trained subjects. In addition, our results indicate that regular physical activity also modifies the reactivity of vascular smooth muscle cells.

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