Importance of mechanical signals in promoting exercise-induced improvements in vasomotor function of aged skeletal muscle resistance arteries.
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Current research indicates that vasomotor responses are altered with aging in skeletal muscle resistance arteries. The changes in vasomotor function are characterized by impaired vasodilator and vasoconstrictor responses. The detrimental effects of aging on vasomotor function are attenuated in some vascular beds after a program of endurance exercise training. The signals associated with exercise responsible for inducing improvements in vasomotor function have been proposed to involve short-duration increases in intraluminal shear stress and/or pressure during individual bouts of exercise. Here, we review evidence that increases in shear stress and pressure, within a range believed to present in these arteries during exercise, promote healthy vasomotor function in aged resistance arteries. We conclude that available research is consistent with the interpretation that short-duration mechanical stimulation, through increases in shear stress and pressure, contributes to the beneficial effects of exercise on vasomotor function in aged skeletal muscle resistance arteries.