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Endothelial Function and Exercise Training: Evidence from Studies Using Animal Models


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: March 2006 - Volume 38 - Issue 3 - p 445-454
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000191187.24525.f2
BASIC SCIENCES: Original Investigations

ABSTRACT This review summarizes and examines the evidence from experiments using animal models to determine the effect of endurance exercise training on endothelium-dependent dilation in the arterial circulation. The response of the endothelium to exercise training is complex and depends on a number of factors that include the duration of the training program, the size of the artery/arteriole, the anatomical location of the artery/arteriole, and the health of the individual. In healthy animals, short-term exercise training appears to cause enhanced endothelium-dependent dilation in some vascular beds, but it returns to normal levels as the duration of the training program increases. In general, evidence supports the notion that exercise training causes greater increases in endothelium-dependent dilation in various disease states than in healthy individuals. The evidence of a generalized effect of training on arterial endothelium in all regions of the body is inconsistent and appears to depend on the animal model used. Available results indicate that training duration, artery size, and anatomical location interact in ways not fully understood at this time to determine whether and to what extent endothelium-dependent dilation will be enhanced by exercise training.

1Department of Sports Medicine, Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA; and 2Departments of Biomedical Sciences and Physiology, and Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO

Address for correspondence: Jeffrey L. Jasperse, Ph.D., Department of Sports Medicine, Pepperdine University, 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90263; E-mail:

Submitted for publication June 2005.

Accepted for publication October 2005.

©2006The American College of Sports Medicine