Exercise training improves femoral artery blood flow responses to endothelium-dependent dilators in hypercholesterolemic pigs. Academic Article uri icon


  • We tested two hypotheses: 1) that the effects of hypercholesterolemia on endothelial function in femoral arteries exceed those reported in brachial arteries and 2) that exercise (Ex) training enhances endothelium-dependent dilation and improves femoral artery blood flow (FABF) in hypercholesterolemic pigs. Adult male pigs were fed a normal fat (NF) or high-fat/cholesterol (HF) diet for 20 wk. Four weeks after the diet was initiated, pigs were Ex trained or remained sedentary (Sed) for 16 wk, thus yielding four groups: NF-Sed, NF-Ex, HF-Sed, and HF-Ex. Endothelium-dependent vasodilator responses were assessed in vivo by measuring changes in FABF after intra-arterial injections of ADP and bradykinin (BK). Endothelium-dependent and -independent relaxation was assessed in vitro by measuring relaxation responses to BK and sodium nitroprusside (SNP). FABF increased in response to ADP and BK in all groups. FABF responses to ADP and BK were not impaired by HF but were improved by Ex in HF pigs. BK- and SNP-induced relaxation of femoral artery rings was not altered by HF or Ex. To determine whether the mechanism(s) for vasorelaxation of femoral arteries was altered by HF or Ex, BK-induced relaxation was assessed in vitro in the absence or presence of N(G)-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester [l-NAME; to inhibit nitric oxide synthase (NOS)], indomethacin (Indo; to inhibit cyclooxygenase), or l-NAME + Indo. BK-induced relaxation was inhibited by l-NAME and l-NAME + Indo in all groups of femoral arteries. Ex increased the NOS-dependent component of endothelium-dependent relaxation in NF (not HF) arteries. Indo did not inhibit BK-induced relaxation. Collectively, these results indicate that hypercholesterolemia does not alter endothelial function in femoral arteries and that Ex training improves FABF responses to ADP and BK; however, the improvement cannot be attributed to enhanced endothelial function in HF femoral arteries. These data suggest that Ex-induced improvements in FABF in HF arteries are mediated by vascular adaptations in arteries/arterioles downstream from the femoral artery.

published proceedings

  • Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol

author list (cited authors)

  • Woodman, C. R., Ingram, D., Bonagura, J., & Laughlin, M. H

citation count

  • 16

complete list of authors

  • Woodman, Christopher R||Ingram, David||Bonagura, John||Laughlin, M Harold

publication date

  • June 2006