Background and aims: Some plasma biomarkers of inflammation and endothelial dysfunction have been recently recognized as important cardiovascular risk factors. Currently, there is little information about the effects of aerobic exercise training on these biomarkers in older adults with type 2 diabetes. We have therefore assessed the effects of a twice-weekly moderate, aerobic exercise programme, without a concomitant weight loss diet, on plasma inflammatory and endothelial dysfunction biomarkers in older type 2 diabetic patients.
Methods and results: A group of 16 sedentary, overweight, non-smoking, older patients with type 2 diabetes volunteered to participate in a 6-month, supervised, progressive, aerobic training study, two times per week. Plasma levels of hs-C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), soluble tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha receptors, P-selectin and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) were measured before and after physical training. While hs-CRP and soluble TNF-alpha receptors remained essentially unaffected by physical training, plasma concentrations of P-selectin (P<0.001) and ICAM-1 (P<0.01) markedly decreased; physical training also increased HDL cholesterol by 12% (P<0.05) and decreased uric acid levels by approximately 33% (P=0.021). Body weight, waist circumference, blood pressure, haemoglobin A1c, plasma triglyceride and LDL cholesterol concentrations did not change. Interestingly, the exercise-induced changes in ICAM-1 and P-selectin levels remained significant after adjustment for the percent variations of body weight, waist circumference, haemoglobin A1c, HDL cholesterol and uric acid concentrations.
Conclusions: A twice-weekly, 6-month, progressive aerobic-training programme, without a concomitant weight loss diet, is associated with significant decreases in circulating P-selectin and ICAM-1 levels and with a less atherogenic lipid profile in overweight, non-smoking, older type 2 diabetic individuals.