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Matrix Metalloproteinase-9 and Augmentation Index are reduced with an 8-week green-exercise walking programme

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journal contribution
posted on 01.04.2022, 14:53 by Jane Thompson, Richard Webb, Paul Hewlett, David Llewellyn, Barry McDonnell
Objectives: MMP-9 is involved in degrading the Extracellular Matrix (ECM); specifically elastin, which provides elasticity to the arterial wall. Elastin degradation and restructuring of the ECM results in increased vascular remodelling and arterial stiffness. Conversely, exercise improves age-related vascular stiffening. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate whether participation in a green-exercise programme affects vascular haemodynamics and mRNA expression of MMP-9. Methods: Thirty-six healthy, sedentary individuals (44 ± 2yrs; not taking any cardiovascular-acting medication) joining a moderate-intensity, aerobic green-exercise programme, were recruited. At baseline and 8-weeks into the programme, physical activity (measured in weekly MET-minutes [IPAQ]), supine Mean Arterial Blood Pressure (MAP), Augmentation Index (AIx) and aortic Pulse Wave Velocity (aPWV) data were collected and blood samples were obtained. Leukocytic MMP-9 mRNA expression (RT-PCR) and plasma protein levels (ELISA) were analysed; AIx and aPWV were measured via applanation tonometry (SphygmoCor, Atcor Medical, Australia). Results: The cohort was split into those who adhered (n=17) and did not adhere (n=19) to the programme. MMP-9 expression, MAP and AIx all decreased significantly in the exercise-adherent group (cf. the non-adherent group), while significant correlations were seen between: (i) ΔMMP-9 expression and ΔMET-minutes/wk; (ii) ΔMMP-9 expression and ΔAIx; (iii) ΔAIx and ΔMET-minutes/wk (P<0.05 in all cases). aPWV did not change significantly between the groups. Conclusions: These findings suggest that exercise-induced down-regulation of MMP-9 may contribute to reduced ECM degradation and therefore ameliorate vascular remodelling. Additional studies are needed to explore these findings further; however, these data may provide a biomolecular mechanism for aerobic exercises ability to delay age-related increases in arterial stiffening.


Published in

Journal of Hypertension




VoR (Version of Record)


Thompson JES, Webb R, Hewlett P, Llewellyn D, Mcdonnell BJ (2013) 'Matrix Metalloproteinase-9 and Augmentation Index are reduced with an 8-week green-exercise walking programme', Journal of Hypertension 2:127. doi: 10.4172/2167-1095.1000127

Electronic ISSN


Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences

Cardiff Met Authors

Richard Webb Paul Hewlett Barry McDonnel

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Cardiovascular Metabolism and Inflammation
  • Cardiovascular Physiology

Copyright Holder

© The Authors