Menstrual phase and the vascular response to acute resistance exercise
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Aerobic exercise has a favorable effect on systemic vascular function, reducing both central (large elastic artery) and peripheral (smaller muscular artery) stiffness. The effects of resistance exercise (RE) on arterial stiffness are more complex. Acute RE increases central artery stiffness while decreasing peripheral stiffness. To date, the majority of studies have been performed in predominantly male participants.
To examine the effect of acute RE on central and peripheral arterial stiffnesses in women, a secondary purpose was to explore the influence of cyclic changes in estrogen status across the menstrual cycle on the arterial response to acute RE.
18 healthy women [28 ± 7 years, body mass index (BMI) 22.6 ± 2.9 kg/m2] completed an acute RE bout during the early follicular and the early luteal phase of their menstrual cycle. Salivary 17β-Estradiol concentration was measured during each phase, using a passive drool technique. Pulse-wave velocity (PWV) was obtained from the carotid–femoral and carotid–radial pulse sites to measure central and peripheral stiffness, respectively, using applanation tonometry. PWV was measured at rest, immediately, 10, 20, and 30 min post-RE.
17β-Estradiol concentration was significantly lower in the early follicular vs. the early luteal phase of the menstrual cycle (1.78 ± 0.51 vs. 2.40 ± 0.26 pg/ml, p = 0.01). Central PWV significantly increased (p < 0.05) and peripheral PWV significantly decreased (p < 0.05) post-RE in both the early follicular and early luteal phases. No phase-by-time interaction was detected for either vascular segment (p > 0.05).
Women experience increases in central arterial stiffness and reductions in peripheral arterial stiffness following acute RE. Menstrual cycle phase may not influence changes in arterial stiffness in response to acute RE.
KeywordsAortic stiffness Resistance exercise 17B-estradiol Menstrual cycle
Augmentation index (@Heart Rate 75)
Body mass index
Central mean arterial pressure
Common carotid artery
Diastolic blood pressure
Forward wave pressure
Reflected wave pressure
Systolic blood pressure
Time to reflection
Wave separation analysis
NIH NIA P30 AG0344645 05 (KSH) supported this study.
JAA data collection, statistical analyses, writing of manuscript, response, and management of reviewer comments and manuscript submission. KNN data collection and recruitment. KSH Assist with writing of manuscript and manuscript edits, supervisor.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose. The results of this study are presented clearly, honestly and without fabrication, or inappropriate data manipulation.
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