How Old are Your Arteries? Exercise-Mediated Protection From Age-Associated Vascular Stiffness


As we age, the blood vessel becomes more susceptible to pathologies including hypertension and atherosclerosis. A famous saying of Thomas Sydenham, English physician, states: “man is as old as his arteries.” However, changes in the function and structure of the arteries with aging, such as arterial stiffening and thickening, do not occur to the same extent in all people. Studies by Seals et al strongly suggest that habitual physical activity/aerobic exercise can slow or prevent the aging of the blood vessels, as measured by arterial compliance, even in previously sedentary middle‐aged and older adults.13 Exercise training is known to induce several adaptations in the cardiovascular system, in part, by increases in laminar blood flow.4 This, in turn, leads to increased production of endothelial‐derived nitric oxide (NO) that is critical to the regulation of vascular responses, including vascular tone and permeability, platelet adhesion and aggregation, endothelial‐leukocyte interactions, and vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation.5 Therefore, it is not surprising that NO has been touted as having an important role in the architecture of the blood vessel. In this issue of JAHA, Steppan and colleagues demonstrate that exercise suppresses an age‐associated increase in vascular transglutaminase activity and propose that this NO‐mediated effect contributes to exercise‐induced arterial remodeling and specifically the attenuation of age‐associated vascular stiffness.6


Autor / Fonte:Justin Jung?Euy Kang and Peter F. Bodary J Am Heart Assoc. 2014;3:e000941