Time course of changes in Endothelial function following exercise in habitually sedentary men

Simon Williams, Bruce Davies, Damian Bailey, Catherine H Pullin, Michael F Bellamy, Moira Ashton, Jonathan Goodfellow, John F. Wilson, Malcolm J. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Regular exercise reduces mortality from cardiovascular dysfunction or disease. The mechanism(s) underlying this protective effect is unknown but may reflected enhanced nitric oxide activity. Two studies were conducted to investigate the effect of acute and chronic exercise on nitric oxide-mediated endothelium-dependent flow-mediated dilation (FMD) in habitually sedentary healthy male adults. Study A subjects (n = 9, 30 ± 4 years) conducted daily standardised treadmill exercise for 5 days. Brachial artery FMD was assessed daily and on the following 6 days. During the exercise period, FMD increased steadily, was elevated by Day 3 (P = 0.012) and reached maximal response on Day 6 (192 ± 71 µm at day 6 versus 51 ± 68 µm at baseline, P = 0.002). FMD returned to baseline on Day 9. Study B subjects (n = 17, 38 ± 2 yrs) conducted a 4-week bike exercise regime. FMD was assessed pre-training, post-training and following 2-weeks detraining. Post-training FMD was improved (137 ± 64 µm post-training versus 80 ± 59 µm pre-training, P = 0.028) but returned to baseline following detraining (P = 0.226). In both studies, endothelium-independent responses remained similar throughout. Physical exercise progressively, rapidly and reversibly improves FMD. The effects are both rapid and short-lived.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14 - 22
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Exercise Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 4 Aug 2004


  • flow-mediated dilation
  • nitric oxide
  • cardiovascular risk factor


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