Effects of exercise training on regulation of tone in coronary arteries and arterioles

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1994 Oct;26(10):1252-61.


A large number of studies now support the concept that exercise training alters functional control of the coronary circulation. Recent work has approached this area using ex vivo coronary arterial preparations (proximal coronary arteries, near-resistance arteries, resistance arterioles) isolated from exercise-trained animals and contracting independently of confounding in vivo influences. The combined results of these studies indicate that training-induced alterations in vascular control mechanisms do not occur uniformly throughout the coronary vascular tree. Proximal epicardial coronary arteries (approximately 2.0 mm diameter) isolated from exercise-trained pigs exhibited significantly reduced contractile responsiveness to the alpha-adrenergic receptor agonist, norepinephrine, but unaltered contractile responsiveness to K+, acetylcholine, and endothelin. Also, proximal arteries from exercise-trained animals demonstrated enhanced sensitivity to the vasodilator effects of adenosine. At the other end of the vascular spectrum, in resistance arterioles (< 150 microns diameter) the relaxation responses to adenosine were unaffected by exercise training, but bradykinin-induced vasodilation (endothelium-dependent) was significantly enhanced. In near-resistance arteries (150-240 microns diameter) responses to both bradykinin and adenosine were enhanced by exercise training. Thus, exercise training is associated with intrinsic vessel size-dependent alterations in coronary smooth muscle and endothelium-mediated regulatory mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arteries / physiology
  • Arterioles / physiology
  • Coronary Circulation / physiology
  • Coronary Vessels / physiology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / physiology
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal / physiology*
  • Swine
  • Swine, Miniature
  • Vascular Resistance / physiology
  • Vasoconstriction / physiology
  • Vasodilation / physiology