Resistance exercise training reduces central blood pressure and improves microvascular function in African American and white men

Atherosclerosis. 2009 Nov;207(1):220-6. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2009.03.043. Epub 2009 Apr 5.


Objective: African American men have stiffer large central arteries and impaired dilation of smaller peripheral arteries when compared to their white peers. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of resistance exercise training (RT) on vascular function and central blood pressure (BP) in young (22 years) African American and white men.

Methods: Vascular and hemodynamic measures were made in 19 African American and 18 white men at baseline and following 6-weeks of RT. Carotid BP and carotid/brachial artery beta-stiffness were measured by tonometry and ultrasonography, respectively. Aortic BP was measured by radial artery tonometry and a generalized transfer function. Aortic stiffness was measured by pulse wave velocity (PWV). Forearm blood flow (FBF) was measured by strain-gauge plethysmography before and during reactive hyperemia (RH) induced by 5-min of brachial artery occlusion.

Results: There were similar reductions in central BP and similar increases in FBF-RH in both African American and white men following RT (p<0.05). There were no changes in brachial systolic BP, carotid stiffness, and aortic PWV in either group (p>0.05). There was an increase in brachial stiffness in African American but not white men following RT (p<0.05).

Conclusions: RT led to reductions in central BP and increases in microvascular endothelial function with no effect on central artery stiffness in both groups of young men. RT increased brachial stiffness in African American men. Measurement of conventional brachial BP does not capture the central hemodynamic and vascular response to exercise training due to disparate racial changes in regional vascular properties.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • African Americans*
  • Aorta / physiopathology
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Brachial Artery / physiopathology
  • Carotid Arteries / physiopathology
  • Elasticity
  • Endothelium, Vascular / diagnostic imaging
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group*
  • Humans
  • Hyperemia / ethnology
  • Hyperemia / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Manometry
  • Microcirculation
  • Plethysmography
  • Radial Artery / physiopathology
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Resistance Training*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography
  • Vascular Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Vascular Diseases / ethnology
  • Vascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Vascular Diseases / therapy*
  • Young Adult