Polymorphism in Endothelin-Related Genes Limits Exercise-Induced Decreases in Arterial Stiffness in Older Subjects

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Increase in arterial stiffness is associated with aging, which is improved by regular exercise. Endothelin (ET) system has crucial roles in regulating vascular tone and in the progression of atherosclerosis. We hypothesized that molecular variations (ie, gene polymorphisms) in ET-related gene might affect exercise-induced improvement in arterial stiffness with age in human subjects. The present study provides a cross-sectional investigation of 191 healthy middle-aged and older (65±1 years) human subjects to clarify the relationship between the regular exercise-induced improvement of arterial stiffness and the gene polymorphisms of ET converting enzyme (ECE)-1, ECE-2, ET-A receptor (ET-A), and ET-B receptor (ET-B). The study subjects were divided into active and inactive groups based on the median value (186 kcal/d) of energy expenditure. Brachial-ankle arterial pulse wave velocity (baPWV) was used to evaluate arterial stiffness. All individuals were genotyped for 4 different polymorphisms of the ET system: 2013(+289)A/G in intron 17 of ECE-1, 669(+17)T/C in intron 5 of ECE-2, 958A/G in exon 6 of ET-A, and 831A/G in exon 4 of ET-B. The baseline baPWV was significantly lower in the active group without any change in blood pressure. Polymorphisms in ECE-1 influenced basal blood pressure. Polymorphisms in ECE-1 and ECE-2 had no effect on baPWV between active and inactive groups. However, polymorphisms in both ET-A and ET-B affected baPWV in the 2 groups. The present results suggest that differences in ET-A and ET-B polymorphisms may influence the response of the vascular wall to exercise whereas ECE-1 polymorphisms may affect basal blood pressure.

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