African-American (AA) men have higher arterial stiffness and augmentation index (AIx) than Caucasian-American (CA) men. Women have greater age-associated increases in arterial stiffness and AIx than men. This study examined racial and sex differences in arterial stiffness and central hemodynamics at rest and after an acute bout of maximal exercise in young healthy individuals. One hundred young, healthy individuals (28 AA men, 24 AA women, 25 CA men, and 23 CA women) underwent measurements of aortic blood pressure (BP) and arterial stiffness at rest and 15 and 30 min after an acute bout of graded maximal aerobic exercise. Aortic BP and AIx were derived from radial artery applanation tonometry. Aortic stiffness (carotid-femoral) was measured via pulse wave velocity. Aortic stiffness was increased in AA subjects but not in CA subjects (P < 0.05) after an acute bout of maximal cycling exercise, after controlling for body mass index. Aortic BP decreased after exercise in CA subjects but not in AA subjects (P < 0.05). Women exhibited greater reductions in AIx after maximal aerobic exercise compared with men (P < 0.05). In conclusion, race and sex impact vascular and central hemodynamic responses to exercise. Young AA and CA subjects exhibited differential responses in central stiffness and central BP after acute maximal exercise. Premenopausal women had greater augmented pressure at rest and after maximal aerobic exercise than men. Future research is needed to examine the potential mechanisms.
Keywords: African-American; arterial stiffness; blood pressure; exercise; sex.