Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine whether exercise training stimulates a generalized improvement in vascular function in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Background: Exercise is often recommended for patients with type 2 diabetes to improve physical conditioning and glycemic control. This study examined the effect of eight weeks of exercise training on conduit and resistance vessel function in patients with type 2 diabetes, using a randomized crossover design.
Methods: Both resistance vessel endothelium-dependent and -independent functions were determined by forearm plethysmography and intrabrachial infusions of acetylcholine (ACh) and sodium nitroprusside (SNP), respectively, in 16 patients with type 2 diabetes. Conduit vessel endothelial function was assessed in 15 of these patients using high-resolution ultrasound and flow-mediated dilation of the brachial artery; glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) was used as an endothelium-independent dilator.
Results: Flow-mediated dilation increased from 1.7 +/- 0.5% to 5.0 +/- 0.4% following training (p < 0.001). The forearm blood flow ratio to ACh was significantly improved (analysis of variance, p < 0.05). Responses to SNP and GTN were unchanged. Endothelium-dependent vasodilation was enhanced in both conduit and resistance vessels.
Conclusions: If endothelial dysfunction is an integral component of the pathogenesis of vascular disease, as currently believed, this study supports the value of an exercise program in the management of type 2 diabetes.