Endurance exercise training enhances cutaneous microvascular reactivity in post-menopausal women

Garry Tew, Keith George, Tim Cable, Gary Hodges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Objective - To compare cutaneous microvascular reactivity between untrained young and post-menopausal women, and assess the effects of 48 weeks of endurance exercise training on cutaneous microvascular reactivity in post-menopausal women.
Methods - Twenty post-menopausal and 12 young women completed this study. Using laser-Doppler flowmetry, an index of skin blood flow was measured on the forearm at rest, during post-occlusive reactive hyperaemia (PORH), and during localised heating to 42 °C. Cutaneous vascular conductance (CVC) was calculated as the ratio of laser-Doppler flow to mean arterial pressure (in AU mm Hg−1). For the post-menopausal women, this assessment was also performed after 6, 12, 24, 36, and 48 weeks of endurance exercise training.
Results - PORH and maximum CVC responses were depressed in untrained post-menopausal women compared with young controls (P ≤ 0.011 for all methods of data expression). PORH was increased (P <0.05) in the post-menopausal women after 24 weeks of exercise training (0.51 ± 0.16 vs. 0.65 ± 0.23 AU mm Hg−1), with further increases after 36 and 48 weeks (0.76 ± 0.27 and 0.88 ± 0.32 AU mm Hg−1, respectively). Similarly, maximum CVC was increased (P <0.05) after 24 weeks (2.20 ± 0.31 vs. 2.66 ± 0.27 AU mm Hg−1), and at the 36-week assessment (2.90 ± 0.30 AU mm Hg−1). Cardiopulmonary fitness (View the MathML sourceO2max) increased after 12 weeks (23.5 ± 4.4 vs. 25.4 ± 5.1 mL kg−1 min−1; P <0.05), and improved further throughout the intervention (31.6 ± 5.9 mL kg−1 min−1 at week 48). There was a moderate positive relationship between the change in PORH (in AU mm Hg−1) between weeks 0 and 48 and the concomitant change in View the MathML sourceO2max (r = 0.65, P = 0.002). After 24–36 weeks of exercise training, the PORH and maximum CVC responses of the post-menopausal women did not differ to those of the young untrained women (P > 0.05).
Conclusion - Cutaneous microvascular reactivity is reduced in post-menopausal women compared to young controls and increased to similar levels after 24–36 weeks of mild-to-moderate endurance exercise.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-228
JournalMicrovascular Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


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