European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 118, Issue 11, pp 2367–2376 | Cite as

Peak oxygen uptake, ventilatory threshold, and arterial stiffness in adolescents

  • Eero A. HaapalaEmail author
  • Jari A. Laukkanen
  • Tim Takken
  • Urho M. Kujala
  • Taija Finni
Original Article



To investigate the associations of peak oxygen uptake (\(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{2{\text{peak}}}}\)) and \(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_2}\) at ventilatory threshold (\(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_2}\) at VT) with arterial stiffness in adolescents.


The participants were 55 adolescents (36 girls, 19 boys) aged 16–19 years. Aortic pulse wave velocity (PWVao) and augmentation index (AIx%) were measured by non-invasive oscillometric device from right brachial artery level. \(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{2{\text{peak}}}}\) was directly measured during a maximal ramp test on a cycle ergometer. \(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_2}\) at VT was determined using the equivalents for ventilation (\({\dot {V}_{\text{E}}}\)/\(\dot {V}{\text{C}}{{\text{O}}_2}\) and \({\dot {V}_{\text{E}}}\)/\(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_2}\)). \(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{2{\text{peak}}}}\) and \(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_2}\) at VT were normalised for body mass (BM) and lean mass (LM). Data were analysed using linear regression analyses and analysis of covariance adjusted for age and sex.


\(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{2{\text{peak}}}}\) normalised for BM (β = − 0.445, 95% CI − 0.783 to − 0.107) and \(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{2{\text{peak}}}}\) normalised for LM (β = − 0.386, 95% CI − 0.667 to − 0.106) were inversely associated with PWVao. A higher \(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_2}\) at VT normalised for BM (β = − 0.366, 95% CI − 0.646 to − 0.087) and LM (β = − 0.321, 95% CI − 0.578 to − 0.064) was associated with lower PWVao. Adolescents in the lowest third of \(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{2{\text{peak}}}}\) by LM (6.6 vs. 6.1 m/s, Cohen’s d = 0.33) and \(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_2}\) at VT by LM (6.6 vs. 6.0 m/s, Cohen’s d = 0.33) had a higher PWVao than those in the highest third of \(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{2{\text{peak}}}}\) or \(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_2}\) at VT by LM.


Higher \(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{2{\text{peak}}}}\) and \(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_2}\) at VT by BM and LM were related to lower arterial stiffness in adolescents. Normalising \(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{2{\text{peak}}}}\) and \(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_2}\) at VT for LM would provide the most appropriate measure of cardiorespiratory fitness in relation to arterial stiffness.


Cardiorespiratory fitness Physical fitness Vascular stiffness Arteriosclerosis Adolescent 



Augmentation index


Aortic pulse wave velocity


Ventilatory threshold

\(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{2{\text{peak}}}}\)

Peak oxygen uptake



This study has financially been supported by the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation and the Päivikki and Sakari Sohlberg foundation.

Author contributions

EAH and TF conceived and designed research. EAH conducted experiments. JAL, TT, and UMK contributed to the analyses of VO2 and arterial stiffness data. EAH analysed data and drafted the manuscript. JA, TT, UMK, and TF intellectually contributed the content of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Sport and Health SciencesUniversity of JyväskyläJyvaskylaFinland
  2. 2.Institute of BiomedicineUniversity of Eastern FinlandKuopioFinland
  3. 3.Child Development and Exercise Center, Wilhelmina Children’s HospitalUniversity Medical Center UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands

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