Time course of endothelial adaptation after acute and chronic exercise in patients with metabolic syndrome

J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Sep;25(9):2552-8. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181fb4809.


Clustering of cardiovascular risk factors may lead to endothelial dysfunction. Physical exercise is an important factor in prevention and treatment of endothelial dysfunction. We wanted to determine the time course of adaptation to a single bout of exercise at either high or moderate intensity upon endothelial function both before and after a 16-week fitness program in patients with metabolic syndrome. Twenty-eight patients with metabolic syndrome participated in the study and were randomized and stratified (according to age and sex) into an aerobic interval exercise training group (AIT, n = 11), a continuously moderate-intensity exercise training group (CME, n = 8) or to a control group (n = 9). Flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) was determined at baseline, immediately, 24, 48, and 72 hours after 1 bout of exercise and repeated after 16 weeks of exercise. In the untrained state, FMD improved from 5 to 11% (p = 0.003) immediately after a single bout of aerobic interval training (AIT), an effect lasting 72 hours postexercise. In comparison, continuous moderate exercise (CME) improved FMD immediately after a single bout of exercise from 5 to 8% (p = 0.02), an effect lasting 24 hours postexercise (group difference, p < 0.001). In the trained state, a single bout of AIT resulted in a 2% (p = 0.007) acute increase of FMD lasting 48 hours postexercise. The CME increased FMD by 3% (p < 0.01), an effect lasting 24 hours postexercise (group difference p = 0.0012). Blood glucose level decreased after 1 single bout of AIT in the untrained state (p < 0.05), and the effect lasted at least 72 hours postexercise (p < 0.01). Acute CME decreased blood glucose with normalization of the values 24 hours postexercise (p < 0.01). A single bout of exercise in the trained state reduced fasting blood glucose by 10% (p < 0.05) after both AIT and CME. Exercise training, especially high intensity, thus appears to be highly beneficial in reducing blood glucose and improving endothelial function.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Mass Index
  • C-Peptide / blood
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods
  • Fasting / blood
  • Fasting / metabolism
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / blood
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Waist-Hip Ratio


  • Blood Glucose
  • C-Peptide
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Lipoproteins, HDL
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Triglycerides
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human
  • Cholesterol