The coagulation cascade plays a critical role in the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Elevated plasma prothrombin fragment 1 + 2 (F1 + 2) and factor VIII antigen (FVIII:Ag) levels have been associated with a hypercoagulable state, enhancing the risk for vascular thrombotic events. Aerobic training is known to reduce CVD risk, and an improved coagulation profile may contribute to this reduction.
Purpose: To analyze the effect of 6 months of standardized aerobic exercise training on resting F1 + 2 and FVIII:Ag levels in men and postmenopausal women aged 50-75 while accounting for several possibly confounding factors.
Materials and Methods: Sedentary men (N = 16) and women (N = 31) underwent supervised aerobic training 3 d·wk−1 for 6 months while maintaining the American Heart Association step 1 diet. Baseline and final testing included measurement of F1 + 2, FVIII:Ag, plasma lipoprotein-lipid levels, body composition, and V˙O2max.
Results: When adjusted for baseline values and changes in diastolic blood pressure with training, F1 + 2 was found to decrease significantly with exercise training from 1.493 ± 0.058 to 1.422 ± 0.059 nM (P = 0.014). FVIII:Ag levels were found to increase significantly with training when adjusted for baseline values, from 152.5 ± 6.7% of standard at baseline to 156.0 ± 6.1% of standard at final testing (P = 0.005). Training-induced changes in coagulation markers were independent of changes in blood lipids, aerobic capacity, and body composition.
Conclusions: These results indicate that endurance training has a significant impact on the coagulation cascade, reducing coagulation activity in the common pathway and thrombin formation at rest while increasing the activation potential of the intrinsic pathway.