Influences of physical conditioning and deconditioning on coronary vasculature of dogs

J Appl Physiol Respir Environ Exerc Physiol. 1978 Oct;45(4):619-25. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1978.45.4.619.


To investigate the effects of physical conditioning and deconditioning on the coronary vasculature, eight dogs were exercised by treadmill running. Five dogs were deconditioned by confinement in cages following the conditioning period. A technique was developed and validated for measuring circumflex coronary artery diameter from magnified projections of standardized coronary angiograms. Myocardial capillary density, perimeter, and basement membrane thickness were determined from electron microscopy of serial ventricular septal biopsy samples. Physical conditioning caused a small but statistically significant increase in cross-sectional area of the circumflex artery. Although physical conditioning caused no statistically significant changes in the myocardial capillaries, trends were apparent for increases in density and perimeter of myocardial capillaries and a decrease in basement membrane thickness. Physical deconditioning caused statistically significant reductions in cross-sectional area of the circumflex artery and in myocardial capillary density but little change in perimeter or basement membrane thickness of myocardial capillaries. The results suggest that physical conditioning may be associated with an improvement in coronary vascular capacity which may regress rapidly with deconditioning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Capillaries / anatomy & histology
  • Coronary Vessels / anatomy & histology*
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Male
  • Nitroglycerin / pharmacology
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal*


  • Nitroglycerin