The aim of this study was to assess the effects of a single bout of maximal walking on blood and muscle nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability, oxidative stress, and inflammation in symptomatic peripheral artery disease (PAD) patients.
A total of 35 men with symptomatic PAD performed a graded maximal exercise test on a treadmill (3.2 km/h, 2% increase in grade every 2 minutes). Plasma samples and gastrocnemius muscle biopsies were collected preexercise and postexercise for assessment of NO bioavailability (plasma NO and muscle, endothelial NO synthase), oxidative stress and antioxidant function (lipid peroxidation [LPO], catalase [CAT], and superoxide dismutase), and inflammation (interleukin-6, C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor-α, intercellular adhesion molecules, and vascular adhesion molecules). The effects of the walking exercise were assessed using paired t tests or Wilcoxon tests.
After maximal walking, plasma NO and LPO were unchanged (P > .05), plasma CAT decreased, and all blood inflammatory markers increased (all P ≤ .05). In the disease-affected skeletal muscle, endothelial NO synthase, CAT, LPO, and all inflammatory markers increased, whereas superoxide dismutase decreased (all P ≤ .05).
In patients with symptomatic PAD, maximal exercise induces local and systemic impairments, which may play a key role in atherogenesis. Exercise strategies that avoid maximal effort may be important to reduce local and systemic damage and enhance clinical benefits.