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Aortic haemodynamics: the effects of habitual endurance exercise, age and muscle sympathetic vasomotor outflow in healthy men

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posted on 2022-08-10, 11:35 authored by Denis Wakeham, Tony G. Dawkins, Rachel LordRachel Lord, Jack Talbot, Freya M. Lodge, Bryony Curry, Lydia L. Simpson, Chris PughChris Pugh, Rob Shave


We determined the effect of habitual endurance exercise and age on aortic pulse wave velocity (aPWV), augmentation pressure (AP) and systolic blood pressure (aSBP), with statistical adjustments of aPWV and AP for heart rate and aortic mean arterial pressure, when appropriate. Furthermore, we assessed whether muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) correlates with AP in young and middle-aged men.


Aortic PWV, AP, aortic blood pressure (applanation tonometry; SphygmoCor) and MSNA (peroneal microneurography) were recorded in 46 normotensive men who were either young or middle-aged and endurance-trained runners or recreationally active nonrunners (10 nonrunners and 13 runners within each age-group). Between-group differences and relationships between variables were assessed via ANOVA/ANCOVA and Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients, respectively.


Adjusted aPWV and adjusted AP were similar between runners and nonrunners in both age groups (all, P > 0.05), but higher with age (all, P < 0.001), with a greater effect size for the age-related difference in AP in runners (Hedges’ g, 3.6 vs 2.6). aSBP was lower in young (P = 0.009; g = 2.6), but not middle-aged (P = 0.341; g = 1.1), runners compared to nonrunners. MSNA burst frequency did not correlate with AP in either age group (young: r = 0.00, P = 0.994; middle-aged: r = − 0.11, P = 0.604).


There is an age-dependent effect of habitual exercise on aortic haemodynamics, with lower aSBP in young runners compared to nonrunners only. Statistical adjustment of aPWV and AP markedly influenced the outcomes of this study, highlighting the importance of performing these analyses. Further, peripheral sympathetic vasomotor outflow and AP were not correlated in young or middle-aged normotensive men.


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European Journal of Applied Physiology



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  • VoR (Version of Record)


Wakeham, D.J., Dawkins, T.G., Lord, R.N. et al. (2022) 'Aortic haemodynamics: the effects of habitual endurance exercise, age and muscle sympathetic vasomotor outflow in healthy men', European Journal of Applied Physiology.

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Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences

Cardiff Met Authors

Rachel Lord Bryony Curry Christopher J. A. Pugh Rob Shave

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Cardiovascular Physiology

Copyright Holder

  • © The Authors


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