Exercise-induced brachial artery vasodilation: effects of antioxidants and exercise training in elderly men

Damian Bailey, D. Walter Wray, Russell S. Richardson, Anthony J. Donato, Abhimanyu Uberoi

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Aging, vascular function, and exercise are thought to have a common link in oxidative stress. Of the 28 subjects studied (young, 26 ± 2 yr; old, 71 ± 6 yr), 12 took part in a study to validate an antioxidant cocktail (AOC: vitamins C, E, and a-lipoic acid), while the remaining 8 young and 8 old subjects performed submaximal forearm handgrip exercise with placebo or AOC. Old subjects repeated forearm exercise with placebo or AOC following knee-extensor (KE) exercise training. Brachial arterial diameter and blood velocity (Doppler ultrasound) were measured at rest and during exercise. During handgrip exercise, brachial artery vasodilation in the old subjects was attenuated compared with that in young subjects following placebo (maximum = ~3.0 and ~6.0%, respectively). In contrast to the previously documented attenuation in exercise-induced brachial artery vasodilation in the young group with AOC, in the old subjects the AOC restored vasodilation (maximum = ~7.0%) to match the young. KE training also improved exercise-induced brachial artery vasodilation. However, in the trained state, AOC administration no longer augmented brachial artery vasodilation in the elderly, but rather attenuated it. These data reveal an age-related pro-/antioxidant imbalance that impacts vascular function and show that exercise training is capable of restoring equilibrium such that vascular function is improved and the AOC-mediated reduction in free radicals now negatively impacts brachial artery vasodilation, as seen in the young.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAJP - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2009


  • aging
  • free radicals
  • oxidative stress
  • arterial function


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