Background: When compared to other racial groups, African American women (AAW) reach menopause at an earlier age and are at an increase risk for CVD and endothelial health complications. A known intervention for the treatment of both CVD and menopausal changes is aerobic exercise training (AEXT). The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of AEXT on endothelial function between pre- and post- menopausal AAW.
Methods: Sedentary, non-smoking pre- and post- menopausal AAW not on hormone replacement therapy and free of CVD completed AEXT. Participants exercised at 65% of their VO2max for 40 min, 3 days/wk, for 6 months. Participants completed flow-mediated dilation (FMD) testing and blood sample collection. Endothelial microparticles from plasma samples were analyzed by labeling with late stage apoptotic antibodies CD31+/CD42b- and early phase endothelial dysfunction and endothelial activation CD62E+ and quantified using flow cytometry.
Results: No difference in FMD was found between groups before (7.11±1.2 vs. 7.73±0.8 %) or after (10.38±0.2 vs. 9.88±0.6 %) AEXT. Both pre- (7.11±1.2 vs. 10.38±0.2 %, p≤0.005) and post- (7.73±0.8 vs. 9.88±0.6 %, p≤0.043) menopausal women significantly increased FMD after AEXT.
CD31+/CD42b- EMPs did not differ between pre- and post-menopausal AAW before (4.52±0.9 vs. 2.9±0.4 events/μL) or after (2.1±0.4 vs. 2.31±0.5e vents/μL) AEXT. CD31+/CD42b- levels significantly decreased in pre-menopausal AAW (4.52±0.9 vs. 2.1±0.4 events/μL, p≤0.015) after AEXT.
CD62E+ EMPS were not different between pre- and post-menopausal groups before (44±8.5 vs. 42.5±9 events/μL) or after (26.64±8.4 vs. 19.79±3.2 events/μL) AEXT. Both pre- (44±8.5 vs. 26.6±8.4 events/μL, p≤0.034) and post-menopausal (42.5±9 vs. 19.8±3.2 events/μL, p≤0.008) groups had lower levels of CD62E+ EMPs after AEXT.
Discussion: No difference was found in terms of vascular function or health between pre- and post-menopausal AAW. Both groups showed improvements in vascular function and health after AEXT. Our findings suggest AEXT has significant improvements in terms of endothelial function and vascular health in AAW regardless of being a pre- or post-menopausal.