Exercise training-induced adaptations in the coronary circulation

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Aerobic exercise training induces an increase in coronary blood flow capacity that is associated with altered control of coronary vascular resistance and, therefore, coronary blood flow. The relative importance of metabolic, myogenic, endothelium-mediated, and neurohumoral control systems varies throughout the coronary arterial tree, and these control systems contribute in parallel to regulating coronary vascular resistance to differing degrees at each level in the coronary arterial tree. In addition to this nonuniformity of the relative importance of vascular control systems in the coronary arterial tree, it appears that exercise training-induced adaptations are also distributed spatially, in a nonuniform manner throughout the coronary tree. As a result, it is necessary to examine training-induced adaptations throughout the coronary arterial tree. Adaptations in endothelium-mediated control play a role in training-induced changes in control of coronary vascular resistance, and there is evidence that the effects of training may be different in large coronary arteries than in the microcirculation. Also, there is evidence that the mode, frequency, and intensity of exercise training bouts and duration of training may influence the adaptive changes in endothelial function. Exercise training has also been shown to induce changes in responses of coronary vascular smooth muscle to vasoactive agents and alterations in the cellular-molecular control of intracellular Ca2+ in coronary vascular smooth muscle of conduit coronary arteries and to enhance myogenic reactivity of coronary resistance arteries. Exercise training also appears to have different effects on vascular smooth muscle in large coronary arteries than in the microcirculation. For example, adenosine sensitivity is increased in conduit coronary arteries and large resistance arteries after training but is not altered in small coronary resistance arteries of trained animals. Although much remains to be studied, evidence clearly indicates that chronic exercise alters the phenotype of coronary endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cells and that plasticity of these cells plays a role in adaptation of the cardiovascular system in exercise training.

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