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Hypertension, 2010; 56(2): 240-6, PMID: 20530294

Impact of bed rest on conduit artery remodeling: effect of exercise countermeasures.

Year: 2010

van Duijnhoven NT, Green DJ, Felsenberg D, Belavy DL, Hopman MT, Thijssen DH
Department of Physiology, Geert Grooteplein-noord 21, 6525 EZ Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Physical inactivity is a potent stimulus for vascular remodeling, leading to a marked decrease in conduit artery diameter. However, little is known about the impact of physical inactivity on artery wall thickness or wall:lumen ratio or the potential of exercise countermeasures to modify artery wall thickness. The purpose of the study was to examine the impact of 60 days of bed rest, with or without exercise countermeasures, on carotid and superficial femoral artery wall thickness. Eighteen men were assigned to bed rest (second Berlin Bed Rest Study) and randomly allocated to control, resistive exercise, or resistive vibration exercise. Both exercise countermeasures were applied 3 times per week while the subjects were in the supine position on the bed. Sonography was used to examine baseline diameter and wall thickness of the carotid and femoral arteries. Bed rest decreased diameter of the superficial femoral artery (P=0.001) but not the carotid artery (P=0.29). Bed rest induced a significant increase in carotid and superficial femoral artery wall thickness (P=0.007 and 0.03) and wall:lumen ratio (P=0.009 and 0.001). Exercise prevented the increase in wall thickness of the carotid artery. In addition, exercise partly prevented the increased wall:lumen ratio in the superficial femoral artery. In conclusion, 8 weeks of bed rest resulted in approximately 20% increase in conduit artery wall thickness. Exercise countermeasures completely (carotid artery) or partly (superficial femoral artery) abolished the increase in wall thickness. These findings suggest that conduit artery wall thickness, a vascular characteristic associated previously with atherosclerosis, can rapidly adapt to physical inactivity and exercise in humans.

Keywords: BBR
GID: 3017; Last update: 05.08.2012
More information: Original Article