The influence of habitual endurance exercise on carotid artery strain and strain rate in young and middle-aged men.Exp Physiol. 2020 Jun 24 [Online ahead of print]EP
What is the central question of this study? Carotid artery peak circumferential strain (PCS) and strain rate attenuate with age, but appear to be modulated by cardiorespiratory fitness status in young males. However, the relationship between habitual endurance exercise (running) and these parameters has not been studied in young and middle-aged men. What is the main finding and its importance? Young and middle-aged runners exhibited elevated PCS and systolic strain rate (S-SR) compared with non-runners, but habitual running did not influence diastolic strain rate (D-SR). Habitual exercise is associated with comparable improvements in carotid strain parameters in young and middle-aged men, but the age-related decline in PCS and S-SR might be more amenable to habitual endurance exercise than D-SR.
Central arterial stiffness is an independent predictor of cardiovascular risk that can be modified by exercise training. However, conventional local measures of carotid artery stiffness display conflicting responses to habitual endurance exercise in young and older adults. Two-dimensional (2D)-Strain imaging of the common carotid artery (CCA) quantifies circumferential deformation (strain) of the arterial wall across the cardiac cycle, which is more sensitive at detecting age-related alterations in CCA stiffness than conventional methods. Therefore, the study was designed to examine the relationship between habitual endurance exercise (running) and CCA 2D-Strain parameters in young and middle-aged men. Short-axis ultrasound images of the CCA were obtained from 13 young non-runners [23 years of age (95% confidence interval: 21, 26 years of age)], 19 young runners [24 (22, 26) years of age], 13 middle-aged non-runners [54 (52, 56) years of age] and 19 middle-aged runners [56 (54, 58) years of age]. Images were analysed for peak circumferential strain (PCS; magnitude of deformation) and systolic and diastolic strain rates (S-SR and D-SR; deformation velocity), and group differences were examined via two-way ANOVA. PCS, S-SR and D-SR were attenuated in middle-aged men compared with young men (all P ≤ 0.001). PCS and S-SR were elevated in young and middle-aged runners when compared with non-runners (P = 0.002 and P = 0.009, respectively), but no age × training status interaction was observed. In contrast, there was no influence of habitual running on D-SR. Habitual exercise is associated with comparable improvements in CCA 2D-Strain parameters in young and middle-aged men, but the age-related decline in PCS and S-SR might be more amenable to habitual endurance exercise than D-SR.